Hemophilia is a genetic disorder characterized by spontaneous hemorrhage or prolonged bleeding due to factor VIII or IX deficiency. Annual incidence is estimated at 1/5,000 male births and the prevalence is estimated at 1/12,000 which causes increased bleeding and usually affects males. About 70% of the time it is inherited as an X-linked recessive trait, but around 30% of cases arise from spontaneous mutations. Haemophilia A (incidence) occurs in approximately 1 in 5,000 males.The incidence of haemophilia B is 1 in 30,000 in male population.Of these, 85% have haemophilia A and 15% have hemophilia B. Haemophilia A is inherited as an X-linked recessive trait, and thus occurs in males and in homozygous females.
Signs and symptomsCharacteristic symptoms vary with severity. In general symptoms are internal or external bleeding episodes, which are called "bleeds".Patients with more severe haemophilia suffer more severe and more frequent bleeds, while patients with mild haemophilia typically suffer more minor symptoms except after surgery or serious trauma. Moderate haemophiliacs have variable symptoms which manifest along a spectrum between severe and mild forms.
Treatment Most severe haemophilia patients require regular supplementation with intravenous recombinant or plasma concentrate Factor VIII. The prophylactic treatment regime is highly variable and individually determined. Apart from "routine" supplementation, extra factor concentrate is given around surgical procedures and after trauma. In children, an easily accessible intravenous port (e.g. Port-a-Cath) may have to be inserted to minimise frequent traumatic intravenous cannulation. These devices have made prophylaxis in haemophilia much easier for families because the problems of "finding a vein" for infusion two to three times a week are eliminated.