• females;
  • genotype;
  • haemophilia A;
  • haemophilia B;
  • moderate haemophilia;
  • severe haemophilia


Haemophilia A and B are rare X-lined hemorrhagic disorders that typically affect men. Women are usually asymptomatic carriers, but may be symptomatic and, rarely, also express severe (factor VIII (FVIII) or factor IX (FIX) <0.01 U mL−1) or moderately severe (FVIII/FIX 0.01–0.05 U mL−1) phenotypes. However, data on clinical manifestations, genotype and the psychosocial ramifications of illness in severely affected females remain anecdotal. A national multi-centre retrospective study was conducted to collect a comprehensive data set on affected US girls and women, and to compare clinical observations to previously published information on haemophilic males of comparable severity and mildly affected haemophilic females. Twenty-two severe/moderate haemophilia A/B subjects were characterized with respect to clinical manifestations and disease complications; genetic determinants of phenotypic severity; and health-related quality of life (HR-QoL). Clinical data were compared as previously indicated. Female patients were older than male patients at diagnosis, but similarly experienced joint haemorrhage, disease- and treatment-related complications and access to treatment. Gynaecological and obstetrical bleeding was unexpectedly infrequent. F8 or F9 mutations, accompanied by extremely skewed X-chromosome inactivation pattern (XIP), were primary determinants of severity. HR-QoL was diminished by arthropathy and viral infection. Using systematic case verification of participants in a national surveillance registry, this study elucidated the genetics, clinical phenotype and quality of life issues in female patients with severe/moderate haemophilia. An ongoing international case-controlled study will further evaluate these observations. Novel mechanistic questions are raised about the relationship between XIP and both age and tissue-specific FVIII and FIX expression.