Treatment of acquired haemophilia A (AHA): a balancing act. Results from a 27-year Dutch cohort study.

Acquired haemophilia A (AHA) is a severe auto-immune bleeding disorder. Treatment of AHA is burdensome and optimal management is still unresolved. Therefore a retrospective nationwide multi-center cohort study (1992-2018) was performed to evaluate clinical presentation and treatment efficacy and safety of AHA in the Netherlands. Multivariate logistic and Cox regression analysis was used to study independent associations between patient characteristics and clinical outcome. 143 patients (median age 73 years; 52.4% male) were included with a median follow-up of 16.8 months (IQR 3.6-41.5). First-line immunosuppressive treatment was mostly steroid monotherapy (67.6%), steroids/cyclophosphamide (11.9%) and steroids/rituximab (11.9%), with success rates of 35.2%, 80.0% and 66.7% respectively, p<0.05. Eventually 75% of patients achieved complete remission (CR). A high anti-FVIII antibody titer, severe bleeding and steroid monotherapy were associated with lower CR rates. Infections, the most important adverse event, occurred significantly more often with steroid combination therapy compared to steroids alone (38.7% versus 10.6%; p=0.001). Overall mortality was 38.2%, mostly due to infections (19.2%) compared to 7.7% fatal bleeds. Advanced age, underlying malignancy and ICU admission were predictors for mortality. This study showed that AHA is characterized by significant disease- and treatment-related morbidity and mortality. A high anti-FVIII titer, severe bleeding and steroid monotherapy were associated with a lower CR rate. The efficacy of steroid combination therapies however, was overshadowed by higher infection rates and infections represented the most important cause of death. The challenging and delicate balance between treatment effectivity and safety requires ongoing monitoring of AHA and further identification of prognostic markers. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

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