The impairment in daily life of obese haemophiliacs


Sara Biere-Rafi, MD, Department of Vascular Medicine, F4-140, Academic Medical Center, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Tel.: +0031 20 566 7050; fax: +0031 20 566 9343;


Summary.  Obesity is a major health concern not only in the general population but also in patients with haemophilia. Little is known about the consequences of obesity for haemophilia patients. As obesity is an important risk factor for osteoarthritis, these effects may be even more pronounced in haemophilia patients who are prone to joint damage. The association between obesity and limitations in daily activities as well as the frequency of bleeds and use of factor VIII (FVIII) concentrate in obese and normal weight haemophilia patients was assessed. Fifteen obese (BMI ≥ 30 kg m−2) and fifteen normal weight (BMI ≤ 25 kg m−2) haemophilia A patients matched for severity and age were analysed. The Hemophilia Activities List (HAL) was used to assess the impairment in daily activities. Compared with the normal weight haemophilia patients, obese haemophiliacs had a significantly lower sum score (88/100 and 98/100, respectively, = 0.02), which was mainly caused by an impaired lower limb function. All other components of the HAL also showed lower scores in the obese patients, but did not reach statistical significance. A higher frequency of bleeds requiring treatment with FVIII concentrate occurred in the obese haemophiliacs (17 bleeds in eight individuals) compared with the controls (three bleeds in three individuals) (P = 0.045). Compared with non-obese haemophilia patients, obese haemophiliacs had more joint bleeds and a lower overall HAL score, which was driven by a lower limb function score. Prevention of overweight and weight reduction requires special attention from physicians treating haemophilia patients.