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Keywords:

  • haemophilia;
  • historical cohort;
  • intracranial haemorrhage;
  • prognosis factors

Summary.  Intracranial haemorrhage (ICH) is known to be a severe although uncommon complication of haemophilia. A national survey has been conducted in France in order to collect information about ICHs which occurred in haemophiliacs between 1991 and 2001 and to propose recommendations for the diagnostic and treatment of ICH. Within this period, 123 episodes of ICH were recorded from 106 patients. Two-thirds of ICH concerned patients with severe haemophilia. Half of the cases occurred in patients under 15 years of age, 67.2% of which were post-traumatic. Ten cases occurred in neonates with three fatal outcomes. Overall mortality was high (21.9%) suggesting that availability of clotting factor concentrates has not improved the prognosis of this event. Morbidity was also high with 60% of long-term sequelae. The following parameters have been identified as prognostic factors for death: thrombocytopenia, HCV infection, intraventricular or intraparenchymatous haemorrhage. A delay in diagnosis was mentioned in 43.3% of cases, often related to the lack of recognition of the initial symptoms, which may be very common (apathy, tearfulness in young children and headache in elder patients). Delayed replacement therapy was recorded in 37.2% of cases. Emergency units initially dealt with half of these patients. Information concerning recognition and management of these episodes, not only in severe haemophilia, but also in moderate and mild forms, should be regularly supplied to paediatricians in maternity and physicians from emergency units, as well as to patients and their relatives.