Both Hemophilia A and B are treated by infusing a factor product that replaces the patient’s missing clotting factor. The amount infused depends upon the severity of the bleeding episode, the site of the bleed, and the weight of the patient. Factor products are intended for home use and can be self-administered (self-infused), either on a regular basis to prevent bleeding or at the first sign of bleeding. Prophylaxis is the treatment method most commonly used. It involves infusing factor product on a regular schedule in order to prevent bleeding episodes from occurring. By treating before a bleed occurs, factor levels in the blood are more normalized which helps to prevent bleeding episodes and the pain and damage they cause. Both the dose and frequency of factor replacement depend on the severity of the bleeding problem. The dose is adjusted according to the results of periodic blood tests. During a bleeding episode, higher doses of factor product are often needed.
To prevent a bleeding crisis, people with hemophilia and their families can learn to administer factor products at home, and in advance of a heavy period of physical activity, or at the first signs of bleeding.
Centers of excellence for the treatment of bleeding disorders exist throughout the country. The Hemophilia Treatment Center at Kapiolani Medical Center for Woman and Children. The Centers for Disease Control have established that people who do not seek treatment from a Hemophilia Treatment Center (HTC), have an 80% greater chance of morbidity and mortality than those patients who do. It is recommended that each hemophilia patient receive an annual checkup, called an annual comprehensive evaluation. At this visit, patient’s are seen by a hematologist who specializes in bleeding disorder care, a physical therapist, a hemophilia nurse, a social worker, and others who are integral to bleeding disorder care in a one-stop visit. By bringing together multiple disciplines in one visit, patients are evaluated on many levels. The medical staff then meet to make treatment recommendations in a coordinated effort to enhance the patient’s treatment and quality of life.