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Keywords:

  • haemophilia;
  • synovium;
  • cartilage;
  • haemarthroses;
  • joint arthropathy

Summary

Haemophilia is an inherited disorder of clotting factor deficiencies resulting in musculoskeletal bleeding, including haemarthroses, leading to orthopaedic complications. The pathogenesis of haemophilic joint arthropathy continues to be explored and there is evidence to suggest that iron, cytokines, and neo angiogenesis can initiate synovial and early cartilage damage resulting in molecular changes and the perpetuation of a chronic inflammatory state. This joint arthropathy has long term consequences for bone health resulting in chronic pain and quality of life issues in the individual with haemophilia. Haemarthroses can be prevented by the administration of clotting factor concentrates (prophylaxis). However, high costs and the need for venous access devices in younger children continue to complicate recommendations for universal prophylaxis. In patients who fail or refuse prophylaxis, procedures, such as synovectomy and arthroplasty, can provide relief from repeated haemarthroses. The optimal timing of these, however, is not well defined. Prevention of joint arthropathy needs to focus on prevention of haemarthroses through prophylaxis, identifying early joint disease through the optimal use of cost effective imaging modalities and the validation of serological markers of joint arthropathy. Screening for effects on bone health and optimal management of pain to improve quality of life are, likewise, important issues.