Conference Coverage

Fear drives activity changes in hemophilia patients



Fear of negative events can drive changes in activity levels among patients with hemophilia A, results of the HemACTIVE study suggest.

Mark Skinner, of the Institute for Policy Advancement, Ltd. in Washington, DC

Mark Skinner

Patients were more likely to adjust their level of physical activity due to fear of bleeding and joint damage rather than previously experienced bleeding or joint damage.

However, past experience was more likely than fear to make patients stop physical activities altogether.

Mark Skinner, of the Institute for Policy Advancement in Washington, D.C., and colleagues presented these findings in a poster from the annual congress of the European Association for Haemophilia and Allied Disorders.

Mr. Skinner, who is a hemophilia patient himself, said the goal of the HemACTIVE study is to better understand how hemophilia affects patients’ lives.

“We wanted to understand the limitations, challenges, and compromises of individuals living with hemophilia,” Mr. Skinner said. “What has motivated them or prevented them from living more full, active lives doing the kind of work, leisure, and social activities that those without hemophilia do? Is it treatment choice, is it satisfaction with treatment, is it fear?

“We wanted to do a comprehensive study that really looked at the intersection of treatment adherence and satisfaction, the emotional components that relate to those decisions, and the challenges and compromises so that we could better identify what we need to consider as patients think about either changing their therapy or changing their treatment regimen on existing therapy.”

Previous results from the HemACTIVE study showed that, although activity levels differed among hemophilia patients, all patients surveyed wanted greater activity levels, better protection from bleeding, better pain relief, and less-frequent infusions (EAHAD 2019, Abstract P084). In addition, patients who used factor VIII products with an extended half-life were more active and more likely to adhere to their prescribed treatment (ISTH 2019, Abstract PB0210).

The results reported at EAHAD 2020 focus on patients’ reasons for modifying physical activity. Patients and caregivers completed a screening phone interview, followed by a 25-minute, web-based questionnaire on patient activity.

There were 275 respondents – 194 patients with hemophilia A and 81 caregivers – from Canada, France, Germany, Italy, and the United States. Patients had severe (61%) or moderate (39%) hemophilia A, and most (67%) were receiving prophylaxis.

Most patients (70%) were “active” or “extremely/very active,” 77% of patients adjusted their activities because of their hemophilia, and nearly half of patients stopped activities because of their disease.

Fear drives adjustments in activity

Patients were sometimes more likely to adjust their activities based on fear of experiencing an event, as opposed to previously experiencing that event.

Specifically, 44% of patients adjusted their activities due to fear of joint damage, compared with 36% of patients who made adjustments because of past significant joint damage.

Similarly, 41% of patients adjusted activities due to fear of breakthrough bleeds, compared with 36% of patients who made adjustments because of past experience with bleeds and 25% who made adjustments because of significant past bleeds.

On the other hand, a similar percentage of patients adjusted activities because of past experience with pain (43%) and fear of pain (41%). And a similar percentage of patients adjusted activities because of existing joint damage restrictions (35%) and fear of joint deterioration (32%).


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