Haemophilia care in central Scotland 1980-94. I. Demographic characteristics, hospital admissions and causes of death

C A Ludlam, R J Lee, R J Prescott, J Andrews, E Kirke, A E Thomas, E Chalmers, G D Lowe
Haemophilia: the Official Journal of the World Federation of Hemophilia 2000, 6 (5): 494-503
To estimate the resources required to manage patients with haemophilia in Scotland, we studied the demographic features, hospital admissions and causes of deaths for individuals with haemophilia A and B and von Willebrand disease, treated with blood products, during the period 1980-94 living in central Scotland. Data were obtained from 413 adults and children (93% ascertainment). The age distribution in 1980 revealed a paucity of individuals over 60 years but the number in this age group increased over the study period. Of those with haemophilia A and B, 63 and two respectively, became HIV positive. Hospital admissions rose from 103 to 168 per annum; the number of annual bed days utilized also increased, but there was marked annual fluctuation (790-1832). The rate of admission was greater for those with severe haemophilia A and this increased during the 15-year period mainly due to the clinical consequences of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV). The admission rate for haemophilia B was significantly lower than that for haemophilia A, and was similar for all degrees of severity of the disorder. Throughout the 15-year period the incidence of admissions for acute bleeds was constant, as was the average duration in hospital. For those with a factor VIII inhibitor, the rate of admission was about double the rate of those without an inhibitor, although the duration of hospital stay was similar for both groups. There were 61 deaths; the death rate increased during the study period principally due to HIV and HCV, and 12 patients died from haemorrhage. We conclude that: (i) the life expectancy for haemophiliacs in Scotland was generally increasing, although HIV and HCV caused increasing mortality and morbidity (as shown by the increase in hospital admissions); (ii) hospital bed usage for the treatment of acute bleeds continued to be required, but fluctuated greatly; and (iii) the clinical impression that haemophilia B is less clinically severe than haemophilia A is confirmed by objective data. The planning implications for haemophilia care in Scotland and similar countries are discussed.

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