The Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC) has found that improving the education of patients with hemophilia leads to a large reduction in rates of prosthetic joint infection, reports Bioportfolio.
Hemophilia is an unusual condition that prevents blood from clotting. Patients with the disease lack substances known as clotting factors that mix with platelets to make blood sticky. This means that the blood of people with hemophilia is less likely to clot and bleeding often continues for a long time. Patients with the condition can have prolonged nosebleeds, bleeding gums, frequent bruising, and stiffness and pain in joints caused by internal bleeding. The severity of symptoms differs between individuals. Many patients also develop arthritis at a young age as a secondary effect of the disease, and this can make joint replacements necessary.
Patients with hemophilia who undergo joint replacement surgery have significantly higher rates of infection in their prosthetics compared to non-hemophiliac patients. If a patient develops an infection they usually have to undergo implant removal and reinsertion to treat it, and if the infection re-occurs then, in serious cases, amputation is necessary. The reasons for the raised infection rates in hemophiliac patients have been unclear, with many arguing that it is a side effect of the immune suppression that those with the condition often have. However, new research carried out at OIC in Los Angeles suggests that the problem is actually patient education.
The OIC has been on the cutting-edge of hemophilia research for several decades. The centre’s innovative approach of treating hemophilia patients led to its designation in 1970 as an International Hemophilia Training Center. Since then the OIC has continued its focus on improving treatments for hemophilia through research and a high quality of patient care.