Permanent and Irreversible Joint Damage

A target joint is a term used for a joint that has more than 3 bleeds in a 6-month period. Target joints tend to be weaker than other joints and re-bleed easily. Your medical provider may modify your treatment plan to break the cycle of bleeding.

As the long-term consequences of joint bleeds are not usually apparent until later in life, if you or your child has a joint bleed, it should be considered a serious medical event requiring immediate and aggressive treatment with factor.

It is important to contact IHTC with every bleeding episode so we can identify potential target joints early and adjust your treatment. It is also important to record each bleed in an infusion log for better recall during your clinic appointments. Paying attention to your bleeding patterns and treatment will help you have the best outcomes related to healthy joints and muscles.

Your treatment regimen recommended by the IHTC doctors should be followed as closely as possible. Missed or delayed doses in a prophylaxis schedule greatly increase the risk of joint bleeding. Prophylaxis may also be capable of reducing very minor joint bleeds (also known as sub-acute bleeds) which are not obvious to the patient or his family; in turn reducing the long-term risk of joint damage.

Permanent and irreversible joint damage (also known as hemophilic arthropathy) is the most common complication of hemophilia that leads to disability. It is caused by repeated bleeding into the same joint, and over time results in the destruction of the cartilage and synovium (the lining of the joint). This can cause chronic joint pain and limited movement.

Unfortunately, there is no cure for hemophilic arthropathy, and there is no way to reverse the progression of the condition once it has begun. Surgical procedures such as joint replacements help with the symptoms of joint disease but will not return your joint to 100% normal functioning.

Learn how IHTC’s Joint Health Clinic can help prevent hemophilic arthropathy