A specialised multi-disciplinary clinic helping individuals with hemophilia to prevent musculoskeletal complications has cared for over 25 patients since it started operation in November last year.

The clinic, located at Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) Bone and Joint Center, is the first of its kind in the country and its establishment has meant that patients with hemophilia now have access to a more streamlined pathway when accessing orthopaedic care.

According to Dr Mohamed Mubarak Al Ateeq Al Dosari, Senior Consultant and Head of the Orthopedic Surgery Department and Director of the Bone and Joint Center, the establishment of the new specialised clinic is significant because it means patients with hemophilia can now receive all their orthopaedic care within a single location.

Hemophilia is a condition that requires lifelong medical care from a multi-specialty team of healthcare professionals. The establishment of this clinic is noteworthy because we offer patients a unique depth of expertise in addressing their musculoskeletal system care needs and all of the care they need can be accessed in a more organised manner.’

Dr Hasan Azzam Abu Hejleh, Associate Consultant for Surgery at the Bone and Joint Center says hemophilia is a rare and typically inherited bleeding disorder in which the blood doesn’t clot normally. He said that the severity of the condition depends on the amount of factor VIII or factor IX in the blood, with the disease classified either as mild, moderate, or severe.

Patients with hemophilia may bleed for a longer time than others after an injury. They may also experience bleeding inside their body (internally), especially in the knees, ankles and elbows. People with severe hemophilia usually experience spontaneous frequent bleeds into their muscles or joints and this bleeding can damage the organs and tissues and may be life-threatening. Chronic musculoskeletal complications and joint damage caused by prolonged bleeding is one of the major complications of hemophilia.’

While hemophilia is rare, with type A hemophilia affecting around 1 in 10,000 people and type B hemophilia affecting approximately 1 in 50,000 people, Dr Hejleh said that the majority of adult patients with the condition will experience chronic degenerative changes in multiple major joints. He said that preventative orthopaedic care can help improve their prognosis and the new clinic will help those living with hemophilia access individualised treatment in a more streamlined way.

Most adults with severe hemophilia suffer from damage in the knees, ankles, and/or elbows. Chronic joint damage causes pain and limits range of motion. When the pain is severe and interferes with the activities of daily living, orthopaedic surgery is often the best option.’

While there have been many successful outcomes for individuals with hemophilia who have had orthopaedic surgery, according to Dr Hejleh, coordinated, specialised multi-disciplinary preventive treatment (prophylaxis/prophylactic treatment) can help reduce, or delay, the need for surgery.

Our new clinic provides dedicated, multi-specialty care and involves several specialties, including orthopaedics and physical therapy, all in one location. This new clinic will greatly benefit Qatar’s hemophilic population and result in better health outcomes for those managing this lifelong condition.’

Muhammed Rafeeque, a specialised physiotherapist trained to care for hemophilia patients, said that physiotherapy is also an important part of the puzzle. Physiotherapists working at Hamad General Hospital can help patients identify joint function deterioration, provide pain relief, increase joint range, and improve strength and flexibility.

For many patients, physiotherapy offers the best chance to return to a functional level of activity and has a major role in rehabilitating patients after orthopaedic interventions. For patients with hemophilia, special functional scores are designed to evaluate their condition to detect functional loss early so it can be addressed as soon as possible. This offers patients the best chance to regain their function and prevent further damage.’

Visit hamad.qa for more information about the HMC Bone and Joint Center.