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Operative management and outcomes in children with congenital bleeding disorders: a retrospective review at a single haemophilia treatment centre


Raymond G. Watts, MD, Division of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, 1600 7th Avenue South, ACC 512, Birmingham, AL 35233, USA.
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Summary.  Establishing haemostasis for surgical procedures in children with inherited bleeding disorders is challenging. Providers are often hesitant to undertake surgeries in children with bleeding disorders out of fear of bleeding complications. To review the preoperative management and haemorrhagic complications of children with inherited bleeding disorders at our institution, we conducted a retrospective electronic medical record review from 1999 to 2010. Primary focus was review of bleeding complications and factor replacement strategies. A total of 168 procedures were performed in 66 children. Fifteen procedures (8%) in four children were performed in the presence of high-titre factor inhibitors. Procedures included central venous catheter (CVL) placement or revision (41%), otolaryngology procedures (23%), dental (11%), non-synovectomy orthopaedic procedures (8%), synovectomy (5%), circumcision (5%) and miscellaneous (7%). All patients received preoperative factor replacement (100% in haemophilia patients) followed by various factor replacement regimens postoperatively. No deaths or life-threatening bleeding occurred with any procedure. Twelve of 168 procedures (7%) were complicated by bleeding. Tonsillectomy was the most common procedure complicated by haemorrhage 4 of 15 (26%) followed by nasal surgery (3/7 bleeds = 43%). The CVL surgeries were remarkably free of complications with only 1/69 (1.4%) with bleeding. Surgical procedures are safe in children with bleeding disorders with adequate planning and factor replacement. Bleeding remains a problem in a subset of patients and requires ongoing haematological involvement and oversight. Delayed bleeding following T&A was especially common and suggests a need for close follow-up and ongoing factor coverage for this group of patients.