Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine - Just the Facts, 3ed.


Daniel A. Handel



images Hemophilia A (factor VIII deficiency) occurs in about 1:10,000 male births.

images Hemophilia B, or Christmas disease, is a factor IX deficiency and occurs in 1:25,000 to 35,000 male births.


images Hemophilia is an inherited disorder of a circulating coagulation protein. Hemophilia A and B are X-linked, recessive disorders, and therefore affect males almost exclusively.

images Deficiency or defect of the factor VIII or IX protein results in abnormal intrinsic coagulation pathway function.


images Patients with hemophilia are categorized as having mild (5-40% of normal factor function), moderate (1-5% of normal function), or severe (<1% of normal function) disease.

images Hemophilia is characterized by easy bruising and bleeding into the muscles and joints.

images The extent, severity, and frequency of bleeding are dependent on the severity of disease (mild, moderate, or severe).

images Trauma, surgical procedures, and spontaneous retroperitoneal or central nervous system bleeding may be life threatening. Traumatic bleeding may be delayed for several hours.

images Unless there is another underlying disease, patients with hemophilia do not have problems with minor cuts and abrasions.

images Compartment syndrome may result from extremity hematoma.


images Laboratory testing in patients with hemophilia most often shows a normal prothrombin time (PT), prolonged partial thromboplastin time (PTT), and normal bleeding time (BT).

images If more than 30% to 40% of factor activity is present, the PTT may be normal.

images Specific factor assays may be used to differentiate between the types of hemophilia.

images Approximately 10% to 25% of patients with hemophilia A and 1% to 2% of patients with hemophilia B will develop an inhibitor, which is an antibody against the deficient factor.

images An inhibitor is diagnosed by mixing the patient’s plasma 50:50 with plasma of a normal control and finding that the mixture still has a prolonged PTT. The quantity of inhibitor is measured by the Bethesda inhibitor assay (BIA) and is reported in BIA units.


images For major or life-threatening bleeding, the mainstay of therapy is factor replacement (Table 137-1).

images The management of less severe bleeding depends on the severity of hemophilia, presence or absence of inhibitor, and site and severity of bleeding. Replacement guidelines can be found in Table 137-2.

images For severe bleeding the desired factor level is 80% to 100%. For less severe bleeding, the desired factor level is 30% to 50%.

images The amount of factor VIII (FVIII) required is determined by: (Target FVIII − Baseline FVIII)/2 × weight (kg).

images The amount of factor IX (FIX) required is determined by: (Target FIX − Baseline FIX) × weight (kg).

images If factor concentrate is unavailable, or if the type of hemophilia is unknown, fresh frozen plasma (FFP) should be administered. Each milliliter of FFP contains 1 unit of factor VIII. Volume constraints make complete replacement with FFP difficult.

images Desmopressin (DDAVP) may be used to raise factor VIII levels in patients with mild to moderate hemophilia A and no inhibitor.



images Von Willebrand’s disease (vWD) is the most common inherited bleeding disorder, occurring in 1% of the population. However, only 1 in 10,000 people manifests a clinically significant bleeding disorder.


images Von Willebrand’s factor (vWF) is a cofactor for platelet adhesion as well as a carrier protein for factor VIII, protecting factor VIII from proteolytic degradation.

images When exposed to the subendothelial matrix, vWF undergoes a structural change, allowing it to bind to glycoprotein lb. This leads to platelet activation and adhesion to other platelets and to the damaged endothelium.

TABLE 137-1 Replacement Factor Products for Hemophilia Treatment


TABLE 137-2 Initial Factor Replacement Guidelines in Severe Hemophilia



images There are three main types of vWD. Type I (70-80% of cases) is a mild form with bleeding episodes usually manifesting as epistaxis, easy bruising, menorrhagia, or dental bleeding. Type II is a qualitative disorder accounting for about 10% to 15% of cases.

images Type III is a severe form accounting for less than 10% of cases. These patients manifest with severe bleeding episodes that may resemble the hemophilias (hemarthrosis and hematomas).

images Unlike patients with hemophilia, patients with vWD often present with skin and mucosal bleeding. Hemarthrosis is not typical unless severe disease (type III) is present.

images In mild cases of vWD, the patient may not be aware of their disease until a traumatic episode or surgical procedure.


images In patients with vWD, the PT and PTT are usually normal. The BT is prolonged and vWF activity is low.

images Occasionally, the PT and factor VIII level may be abnormal, making it difficult to distinguish vWD from hemophilia A.


images For most patients with vWD, DDAVP is the mainstay of treatment.

images DDAVP works by stimulating endothelial cells to secrete stored vWF, and possibly by promoting hemostasis via additional endothelial effects.

images The dose of DDAVP is 0.3 microgram/kg IV or SC over 30 minutes every 12 to 24 hours for up to four doses. The dose of the concentrated intranasal form of DDAVP is one spray in one nostril (150 micrograms) for children over 5 years of age and one spray in each nostril (300 micrograms) for adolescents and adults.

images For type 1 patients who do not respond to DDAVP or for patients with type II or III disease, factor VIII concentrate that has a significant concentration of vWF is required.

images Cryoprecipitate also contains high concentrations of vWF and may be used to treat patients with vWD. There is, however, a greater risk of viral transmission.

images Platelet transfusions may benefit patients with certain types of vWD (type 3) who do not respond to plasma products.

images For women with vWD and menorrhagia, birth control pills may help increase the vWF levels and limit the menstrual bleeding.

For further reading in Tintinalli’S Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide, 7th ed., see Chapter 230, “Hemophilias and von Willebrand Disease,” by William Manson, Robin R. Hemphill, and Christine L. Kempton.