Effects of primary and secondary prophylaxis on the clinical expression of joint damage in children with severe haemophilia A. Results of a multicenter non-concurrent cohort study.
Abstract: Patients with severe haemophilia A (HA) can either be treated by regular FVIII infusions twice or three times per week (prophylaxis), or only in case of bleeding episodes (on-demand). Whereas prophylaxis reduces the number of bleeding episodes and may therefore prevent the development of haemophilic arthropathy, there is still a lot of controversy surrounding recommendations on age and dose at start of prophylactic regimens. The present database study was performed to investigate the role of primary versus secondary prophylaxis in HA children. The outcome variable was imaging-proven haemophilic joint damage. Forty-two children were initially treated with primary prophylaxis following the first bleeding episode, and were frequency-matched (year of birth, catchment area) to 67 patients receiving "on-demand" therapy with an early switch to "secondary prophylaxis". In multivariate analysis adjusted for the HA mutation type and the presence or absence of thrombophilia, the Pettersson score investigated at a median age of 12.5 years in joints with at least one documented bleeding episode was not significantly different between the two patient groups (p = 0.944), and no statistically significant differences were found in patients with target joints (p = 0.3), nor in children in whom synovitis had occurred (p = 0.77). No conclusion can be drawn from the data presented herein whether primary prophylaxis or an early start of secondary prophylaxis is superior with respect to joint outcome in children with severe HA.