Managing older patients with hemophilia

Dana Angelini, Suman L Sood
Hematology—the Education Program of the American Society of Hematology 2015, 2015: 41-7
With access to safe factor products, the life expectancy of persons with hemophilia (PWHs) has increased almost 10-fold over the past 7 decades. Unfortunately, hand in hand with this success comes the burden of aging. As PWHs age, they are subject to develop many of the same risk factors as the general population, including increasing rates of hypertension, obesity, and diabetes. Such comorbidities predispose them to chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and chronic kidney disease, although how their coagulopathy affects the expression of these conditions remains unclear. The older hemophilia population faces additional challenges, such as chronic joint arthropathy, which provokes falls and fractures, and complications related to HIV and hepatitis C infections, which greatly affect the incidence of cancer and liver disease. In light of the paucity of evidence-based guidelines to direct therapy, a new challenge has arisen for hematologists to optimally manage these complex age-related issues. In general, elderly PWHs should be treated similarly to their peers without hemophilia, with the addition of factor replacement therapy as appropriate. Primary prevention of risk factors should be emphasized, and close coordination between specialties is essential. This review will focus on common complications affecting the older hemophilia population, including cardiovascular disease, malignancy, liver disease, renal insufficiency, and joint disease.

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