Optimal haemophilia care versus the reality


Paula H.B. Bolton-Maggs, Manchester Haemophilia Comprehensive Care Centre, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, UK.
E-mail: paula.bolton-maggs@manchester.ac.uk


Haemophilia A and B are inherited bleeding disorders whose diagnosis and management is generally well established and best provided by specialists in a comprehensive care setting. Patients may be put at unnecessary risk if appropriate expertise is not sought for the management of accidents and surgery. The delivery of a high quality comprehensive service to patients with bleeding disorders depends upon defined standards and a network of haemophilia centres in the UK with similar models in other countries. In developing countries, despite a shortage or absence of treatment products, development of local expertise results in an improved outlook and reduction in mortality. Optimal care for severe haemophilia includes accurate diagnosis, early and adequate factor replacement for bleeding episodes and the provision of prophylaxis from an early age to prevent joint bleeding and the consequent arthropathy. Haemophilia treatment is expensive resulting in considerable inequity in provision of care across the world. Despite decades of experience, optimal treatment levels are not robustly defined. Transfusion-transmitted infections continue to have a significant impact on patient management. The development of inhibitory antibodies seriously complicates the management both in morbidity and cost. While gene therapy has not yet produced the hoped-for cure, new technologies will produce improved products.