Haemophilia patients aged 0-18 years in the Western Cape
CITATION: Hazewinkel, M. H. et al. 2003. Haemophilia patients aged 0-18 years in the Western Cape. South African Medical Journal, 93(10):793-796.
The original publication is available at http://www.samj.org.za
Objectives. To record the number of haemophiliacs aged 0 - 18 years in the Western Cape (WC), what event led to the diagnosis, the level of clotting factor, treatment, functional status of their joints and impact of the disease on the family. Design. A prospective study of patients registered with the South African National Haemophilia Registry and new patients, utilising the patients' paediatricians, hospital records, patient and guardian interviews, physical examination and provincial nurse haemophilia co-ordinators. Setting. Haemophilia care centres, at the three WC academic hospitals, regional hospitals and homes of patients. Two elective medical students, MHH and JJH, collected the information. Subjects. All boys with confirmed haemophilia A or B in the WC. Outcome measures. Events that led to diagnosis, degree of haemophilia, use of clotting factor, functional status, and effect on family. Results. Of 78 patients (59 haemophilia A, 19 haemophilia B) identified, 49 could be studied. Forty-three per cent had severe, 29% moderate and 22% mild disease (6% unknown). Family history was present in 49%, but led to diagnosis in only 12%. The most common first symptoms were subcutaneous and mucosal bleeding. Delay in diagnosis varied from 0 to 9 months. Twenty-nine per cent of guardians were suspected of child abuse. RSA produced clotting factor was used 'on demand' in 73% of patients, for periodic prophylaxis in 20% and as continuous prophylaxis in 7%. Joints were functionally restricted in 43% of patients. The majority of guardians (59%) said the disease had a major impact on the family. Conclusions. The diagnosis of haemophilia in children with a positive family history was often delayed. Haemophilia causes significant morbidity in our patients and their families.