Conference Coverage

Minor surgeries appear safe for hemophilia patients on emicizumab



MELBOURNE – A majority of minor surgeries can be performed in hemophilia A patients receiving emicizumab therapy without requiring prophylactic treatment with coagulation factors, according to data presented at the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis congress.

Dr. Elena Santagostino, from the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center at Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan Bianca Nogrady/MDedge News

Dr. Elena Santagostino

Elena Santagostino, MD, PhD, from the Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center at Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan presented data from 399 patients involved in the four HAVEN trials of the humanized bispecific monoclonal antibody emicizumab (Hemlibra), which is Food and Drug Administration–approved for the prevention of bleeding episodes in individuals with hemophilia A, with or without inhibitors.

The analysis focused on the 126 patients (31.6%) who underwent at least one surgical procedure during the studies. Of the 233 surgeries, there were 215 minor procedures performed in 115 patients, and 18 major surgeries in 18 patients. All patients were receiving ongoing treatment with emicizumab, and there was no change to that treatment regimen during surgery.

“It is clear that surgery is a challenge for hemophilia,” Dr. Santagostino said. “It is a challenge for bleeding, it is a challenge for thrombosis, it is a challenge for any new drug, and this is why there is a lot of interest around this topic.”

Overall, 65.6% of minor surgeries were performed without any prophylactic coagulation factor treatment, and 90.8% of minor surgeries were conducted without postoperative bleeds requiring treatment. There were no cases of thrombosis reported.

The surgeries that did not require prophylactic coagulation factor included 42 dental procedures, 25 central venous access devices, 17 endoscopic procedures, and 12 joint procedures.

While the HAVEN studies did not allow for elective major surgery, there were still 18 unplanned major surgical situations that arose during the course of the studies. These included three hip, one knee, and one ankle arthroplasties; three synovectomies; and some dental, central venous line, and endoscopic biopsy procedures.

Of these, 15 involved prophylactic coagulant factor administration, but three procedures – including one synovectomy – were performed without prophylaxis and none resulted in a bleed.

There was one complicated bleed that occurred in a patient undergoing multiple procedures including a synovectomy, joint debridement and chondroplasty, who received prolonged treatment with recombinant Factor VIIa.

Dr. Santagostino said the findings showed surgery could be safely performed in patients who were being treated with emicizumab, both with and without inhibitors.

“A large number of minor procedures can be done without adding coagulation factors,” she said in an interview. “This is true for less invasive surgeries, such as catheter-related central venous line procedures. Even several endoscopic procedures, like a single biopsy, can be done reasonably safely.”

However she said there was still a lack of experience in dealing with hemophilia A patients who were undergoing cancer surgery, or who had significant comorbidities that might put them at higher risk of thrombosis.

“These are special patients populations that are still not investigated in the trial setting,” she said.

Commenting on the data, session cochair Liane Khoo, MD, from the Haemophilia Treatment Centre at Royal Prince Alfred Hospital in Sydney, said the results showed surgery could be performed in hemophilia A patients with and without inhibitors.

“The more we have the medication and the more experience we have, then we become more confident in using it,” she said.

The study was funded by F. Hoffman-La Roche and Chugai Pharmaceutical. Dr. Santagostino reported consultancies and speakers bureau engagements with the pharmaceutical sector.

SOURCE: Santagostino E et al. 2019 ISTH Congress, Abstract OC 60.1.

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