Hemophilia in Children

Hemophilia is a genetic disorder that prevents blood from clotting properly. It becomes a big problem when a child with hemophilia experiences bleeding inside the body, especially in the knees, ankles and elbows. This can damage a child’s bones, organs and tissues, and is potentially life-threatening.

The highly-trained SLUCare Physician Group hematologists at SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital understand the daily fears parents of children with this rare disorder face. At our program, we lessen these fears by providing innovative, present care and support for children at every age, into adulthood.

Signs & Symptoms of Hemophilia

In boys, symptoms of hemophilia usually appear after circumcision in newborns, and generally by the age of two in those uncircumcised. Girls may also have hemophilia and exhibit common symptoms, including:

  • Unexplained and excessive bleeding from cuts and injuries
  • Unexplained nosebleeds
  • Excessive bleeding after surgery or dental work
  • Numerous large or deep bruises
  • Unusual bleeding after vaccinations
  • Pain, swelling or tightness in the joints
  • Blood in the urine or stool
  • Unexplained irritability (in infants)

Signs of abnormal bleeding include:

  • Sudden pain, swelling and warmth in large joints and in the arm and leg muscles
  • Painful, prolonged headaches
  • Repeated vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Neck pain
  • Double vision

If you or your child’s doctor suspect a bleeding disorder, it’s important to seek proper care from a trained hematologist. While there is no cure for hemophilia, advanced treatment can help your child live a full life.

Treating Hemophilia in Children

Depending on the type of hemophilia your child has, our team might recommend the following therapies:

  • Desmopressin (DDAVP): synthetic hormone that increases the body’s clotting factor VIII and proteins in the blood
  • Recombinant (man-made) clotting factors: clotting factors derived from donated human blood
  • Antifibrinolytic medicines (including tranexamic acid and epsilon aminocaproic acid): helps treat mild intestinal bleeding, and bleeding from the mouth or nose
  • Replacement therapy: prevents bleeding during certain activities

For ongoing support, our specialists may also recommend:

  • Pain medicines, steroids, and physical therapy to reduce pain and swelling in an affected joint
  • Regular infusions of DDAVP or clotting factor to help prevent bleeding
  • Fibrin sealants to promote clotting and healing on wound sites
  • Hepatitis A and B vaccination to reduce any chance of contamination due to blood transfusions (although this risk is very low)

Working as a team, we develop personalized, regularly monitored treatment plans for children. In addition, a nurse coordinator is always available to set up home care operations, coordinate medical and dental procedures, and educate your child’s school about their condition.

If your child has been referred to a hematologist, we are ready to serve you. To learn more about our services or to schedule an appointment, please call 314-268-4000.

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