Conference Coverage

Fear drives activity changes in hemophilia patients



Past experience prompts discontinuation of activity

Overall, 47% of patients said anxiety was the most common emotional reason for stopping physical activities. However, patients were consistently more likely to stop activities because of past experience rather than fear or anxiety.

Specifically, 50% of patients stopped activities because of significant past joint damage, 46% stopped because of developing joint problems, and 38% stopped due to fear of joint damage.

More patients stopped activities because of significant past bleeds (41%) rather than fear of breakthrough bleeds (26%). More patients stopped activities because they developed chronic pain (38%) rather than fear of pain (less than 15%). And more patients stopped activities because of existing joint damage restrictions (62%) rather than fear of joint damage (34%).

Applying results to practice: Changing the conversation

Ideally, these findings would be used to promote individualized treatment of hemophilia driven by patients’ goals, Mr. Skinner said. By better understanding patients’ feelings and motivations, clinicians may devise more personalized treatment regimens that align with patients’ goals and improve their quality of life.

Rather than adjusting treatment based only on “hard metrics” such as bleeding events, “we need to take a more holistic approach to looking at outcomes that are more important to patients,” Mr. Skinner said. This type of approach is particularly important to Mr. Skinner as someone who has severe hemophilia A.

“Because hemophilia is a life-long disease, and you’re born with it, you make conscious or unconscious adaptations throughout your life,” he explained. “Your expectations or aspirations adjust to what you’ve been told you can or cannot do because of your hemophilia. The choices I made for my career, where I live, the type of vacations I go on, the type of sports I participate in have all been limited over the course of time, which has meant that I’ve made compromises. There are a lot of individuals with hemophilia who are making decisions that are not what their life goals are.

“What this research helps me understand is that we can change the conversation and build it around an individual patient and understand what their aspirations are. If a clinician understands what I’m wanting to achieve in life … we can build a treatment regime around helping me achieve those goals. That is known to improve adherence.

“The goal, really, is to have hemophilia as a secondary consideration. Instead of saying: ‘You have hemophilia, so these are the options available to you,’ you can say, ‘what is it that you would like to achieve, and then we’ll figure out how your treatment for hemophilia can be adjusted to help you achieve those goals.’ It may sound like a nuance, but it really is reversing the conversation. The goal setting first versus your disease comes first.”

The HemACTIVE study was supported by Bayer. Mr. Skinner disclosed relationships with Bayer and other pharmaceutical companies.

SOURCE: Skinner M et al. EAHAD 2020, Abstract P304.

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