Patients with severe von Willebrand disease (VWD) may develop arthropathy after joint bleeds. Information on its prevalence and severity is limited. We aimed to assess the occurrence and severity of arthropathy in VWD and its impact on daily life. VWD patients with and without verified joint bleeds were matched for age, sex and Factor VIII level or von Willebrand Factor activity in a nested case-control study within the Willebrand in the Netherlands study. Assessments included the Hemophilia Joint Health Score (0-124), Pettersson score (0-13 per joint X-ray), Hemophilia Activity List score (0-100), joint pain (Visual Analog Scale 0-10), and the Impact on Participation and Autonomy questionnaire (0-20). Arthropathy was defined as a Hemophilia Joint Health Score of 10 or higher, or a Pettersson score over 3 of at least one joint. We included 48 patients with verified joint bleeds (cases) and 48 controls: 60% males, mean age 46 years (range 18-80), median von Willebrand Factor activity 5 versus 8 IU/dL and Factor VIII 24 versus 36 IU/dL. Arthropathy occurred in 40% of the cases versus 10% of the controls (P<0.01). The cases reported more functional limitations compared to the controls (median Hemophilia Activity List score: 88 vs. 100, P<0.01). Arthropathy was related to joint pain and less social participation (Visual Analog Scale>3: 13 of 19 vs. 3 of 28, P<0.01, and median score on the participation questionnaire 6.1 vs. 0.9, P<0.01). In conclusion, arthropathy occurs in 40% of VWD patients after joint bleeds and is associated with pain, radiological abnormalities, functional limitations, and less social participation (Dutch trial register: NTR4548).

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Journal Haematologica
van Galen, K.P.M, de Kleijn, P, Foppen, W, Eikenboom, J.C.J, Meijer, K, Schutgens, R, … Mauser-Bunschoten, E.P. (2017). Long-term impact of joint bleeds in von Willebrand disease: A nested case-control study. Haematologica, 102(9), 1486–1493. doi:10.3324/haematol.2017.168617