Health status and health-related quality of life associated with hemophilia
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The hemophilias are a group of disorders associated with a chronic burden of morbidity and early mortality. Improvements in these adverse features have been achieved by the use of clotting factor concentrates within comprehensive centers of specialized care providing home infusion programs. Offsetting effects from transfusion-transmitted hepatitis and HIV infection are in recent decline. The net impact of these changes merits assessment. To test the a priori hypotheses that increasing severity of factor VIII deficiency would be associated with an increasing burden or morbidity and that hepatitis and HIV positivity would impair health status further, a cross-sectional study of a population-based cohort was undertaken in a regional hemophilia program in Ontario, Canada. A survey was made of mild, moderate, and severe hemophiliacs over 13 years of age 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 health-related quality of life utility scores were determined. The burden of morbidity was greater in hemophiliacs than in the general population and correlated with the category of disease (mild < moderate < severe). Hepatitis and HIV positivity conferred additional burdens of morbidity, which were mainly in the attributes of mobility (HUI2), ambulation (HUI3), and pain (HUI2/3), all of these differences reaching levels of statistical significance. Despite demonstrable improvements in the safety, effectiveness, and utilization of clotting factor concentrates, hemophiliacs continue to experience an important burden of morbidity. Measurement of this burden, as reported here, provides a basis for future economic evaluation of the costs and consequences of health care interventions provided to this population.
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