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Rare bleeding disorders in children: identification and primary care management

Journal title
Pediatrics
Publication year
2013
Author(s)
Acharya, S. S.
Pages
882-92
Volume
132
Number
5

Bleeding symptoms are common in healthy children but occasionally may indicate an underlying congenital or acquired bleeding diathesis. The rare bleeding disorders (RBDs) comprise inherited deficiencies of coagulation factors I (congenital fibrinogen deficiencies), II, V, VII, X, XI, and XIII and combined factor deficiencies, most notably of factors V and VIII and of vitamin K-dependent factors. These disorders often manifest during childhood and may present with recurrent or even serious or life-threatening bleeding episodes, particularly during the neonatal period. Accordingly, primary care and other nonhematologist pediatric providers should be familiar with the clinical presentation and initial evaluation of these rare disorders. Bleeding manifestations generally vary within the same RBD and may be indistinguishable from 1 RBD to another or from other more common bleeding disorders. Serious bleeding events such as intracranial hemorrhage may be heralded by less serious bleeding symptoms. The results of initial coagulation studies, especially prothrombin time and activated partial thromboplastin time, are often helpful in narrowing down the potential factor deficiency, with factor XIII deficiency being an exception. Consultation with a hematologist is advised to facilitate accurate diagnosis and to ensure proper management and follow-up. The approach to bleeding episodes and invasive procedures is individualized and depends on the severity, frequency, and, in the case of procedures, likelihood of bleeding. Prophylaxis may be appropriate in children with recurrent serious bleeding and specifically after life-threatening bleeding episodes. When available, specific purified plasma-derived or recombinant factor concentrates, rather than fresh frozen plasma or cryoprecipitate, are the treatment of choice.

Research abstracts