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Keywords:

  • atherosclerosis;
  • cardiovascular disease;
  • hemophilia;
  • intima–media thickness

See also Makris M, van Veen JJ. Reduced cardiovascular mortality in hemophilia despite normal atherosclerotic load. This issue, pp 20–2; Zwiers M, Lefrandt JD, Mulder DJ, Smit AJ, Gans ROB, Vliegenthart R, Brands-Nijenhuis AVM, Kluin-Nelemans JC, Meijer K. Coronary artery calcification score and carotid intima–media thickness in patients with hemophilia. This issue, pp 23–9.

Summary. Background: Hemophilia A patients have a lower cardiovascular mortality rate than the general population. Whether this protection is caused by hypocoagulability or decreased atherogenesis is unclear. Objectives: To evaluate atherosclerosis and endothelial function in hemophilia A patients with and without obesity as well as in matched, unaffected controls. Methods: Fifty-one obese (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 30 kg m−2) and 47 non-obese (BMI ≤ 25 kg m−2) hemophilia A patients, and 42 obese and 50 matched non-obese male controls were included. Carotid and femoral intima–media thickness [IMT] and brachial flow-mediated dilatation (FMD) were measured as markers of atherogenesis and endothelial function. Results: The overall population age was 50 ± 13 years. Carotid IMT was increased in obese subjects (0.77 ± 0.22 mm) as compared with non-obese subjects (0.69 ± 0.16 mm) [mean difference 0.07 mm (95% confidence interval [CI] 0.02–0.13, = 0.008)]. No differences in mean carotid and femoral IMT between obese hemophilic patients and obese controls were found (mean difference of 0.02 mm [95% CI − 0.07–0.11, = 0.67], and mean difference of 0.06 mm [95% CI − 0.13–0.25, P = 0.55], respectively). Thirty-five per cent of the obese hemophilic patients and 29% of the obese controls had an atherosclerotic plaque (P = 0.49), irrespective of the severity of hemophilia. Brachial FMD was comparable between obese hemophilic patients and obese controls (4.84% ± 3.24% and 5.32% ± 2.37%, P = 0.45). Conclusion: Hemophilia A patients with obesity develop atherosclerosis to a similar extent as the general male population. Detection and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors in hemophilic patients is equally necessary.