Improved patient education reduces risk of prosthetic joint infection in hemophiliac patients, study shows — 6 things to know


The Los Angeles-based Orthopaedic Institute for Children conducted a study demonstrating that improved patient education can significantly reduce the risk of prosthetic joint infections in patients with hemophilia.

Here are six things to know.

1. The findings will be presented in May at the World Federation of Hemophilia's annual meeting in Glasgow, Scotland.

2. Hemophilia is a rare inherited blood clotting disorder that can cause bleeding in joints or limbs and deformities caused by chronic arthritis. The arthritis often begins in childhood, and patients frequently require joint replacement when they reach young adulthood to middle age.

3. Joint replacement infection is much more common in hemophiliac patients than in patients with other forms of arthritis.

4. James Luck, MD, the director of surgery and rehabilitation of OIC's Hemophilia Treatment Center and professor-in-residence at the UCLA/OIC orthopedic surgery department, believed frequent IV self-infusion was the primary risk factor for prosthetic joint infection in hemophiliac patients.

5. In 2005, OIC's Hemophilia Treatment Center began a comprehensive program to educate patients with prosthetic joints in the proper use of IV self-infusion. In the following six years, the center performed 49 primary joint replacements in 32 patients with hemophilia.

6. Infection rates dropped from 17 percent to 0 percent. According to Dr. Luck, the primary source of late infection in hemophiliac patients is poorly administered IV self-infusion. Protocol-driven patient education in sterile techniques for IV self-infusion can significantly reduce prosthetic joint infection rates.

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