Health status and health-related quality of life associated with von Willebrand disease
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Von Willebrand disease (VWD) is the commonest inherited disorder of hemostasis and the majority of women with this disorder experience excessive uterine bleeding. Yet very little information is available on the health-related quality of life (HRQL) in individuals with VWD. To test the a priori hypotheses that these individuals will have poorer HRQL than members of the general population, and that this burden of morbidity will correlate with the severity of VWD, a cross-sectional study was undertaken of a population-based cohort in a regional hemophilia program in Ontario, Canada. A survey was made of individuals over 13 years of age with VWD who self-reported their health status using a standard 15 item questionnaire. The responses were converted to levels in the Health Utilities Index Mark 2 (HUI2) and Mark 3 (HUI3) health status classification systems to form multi-element vectors from which single attribute morbidity and overall HRQL utility scores were determined. As a group, individuals with VWD were shown to have poorer HRQL than members of the general population and those with Type 2 disease carried a greater burden of overall morbidity than those with Type 1 disorder. Morbidity was evident mainly in the attributes of emotion, cognition with pain. A striking difference was observed between males and females, with the latter having overall HRQL utility scores similar to those reported previously for HIV positive, severe hemophiliacs. It is possible that this remarkable burden of morbidity reflects chronic iron deficiency associated with menorrhagia. A national study has been proposed to address this likelihood as it offers an opportunity for effective therapeutic intervention (iron supplementation) with a concomitant gain in health status and HRQL.
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