The number of women and girls (WG) with bleeding disorders cared for at hemophilia treatment centers has increased dramatically over the last 30 years, owing to improved recognition of bleeding symptoms specific to WG. However, basic epidemiologic data of this population remain elusive. The ATHNdataset (American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network) is a surveillance tool for people with bleeding disorders in the United States, providing demographic as well as bleeding symptom and treatment information. The aim of this study was to characterize the female cohort within the ATHNdataset.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is a common cause of anemia and reduced quality of life in adolescents. There is a higher prevalence of bleeding disorders in girls with heavy menstrual bleeding than in the general population. Pediatricians should be comfortable with the initial evaluation of heavy menstrual bleeding and the indications for referral to subspecialty care.
OBJECTIVE: To estimate the frequency of von Willebrand disease screening and factors that affect screening frequency in a national sample of girls and adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding.
METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we used a national claims database for privately and publicly insured patients between 2011 and 2013 for girls aged 10–17 years. Diagnostic criteria of heavy menstrual bleeding were the presence of one inpatient or two outpatient International Classification of Diseases, 9th Revision codes for heavy menstrual bleeding. We defined severe heavy menstrual bleeding as heavy menstrual bleeding plus an inpatient stay for menstrual bleeding, iron deficiency anemia, or blood transfusion. To assess whether patient- or facility-level characteristics affected screening, we performed logistic regression analysis including patient age, health care provider type seen at first visit for menorrhagia, patient residence in a metropolitan statistical area (proxy for urban vs rural inhabitance), and approximate travel time to the nearest hemophilia treatment center.
RESULTS: We identified 23,888 postpubertal girls and adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding (986 with severe heavy menstrual bleeding). Von Willebrand disease screening was performed in 8% of females with heavy menstrual bleeding and 16% with severe heavy menstrual bleeding. Younger age at diagnosis, commercial insurance, and living within a metropolitan statistical area were associated with higher screening rates. Patients who underwent testing for iron deficiency anemia had the highest likelihood of undergoing screening (odds ratio 7.08, 95% CI 6.32–7.93). Among patients living in a metropolitan statistical area, those 60 minutes or more from a hemophilia treatment center were less likely to undergo screening.
CONCLUSION: Despite recommendations by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists for more than 15 years, fewer than 20% of postpubertal girls and adolescents with heavy menstrual bleeding underwent screening for von Willebrand disease in this cohort. Increased clinician awareness and adherence to recommended screening recommendation
This is the obstetrician's view on 3 different clinical scenarios involving bleeding and thrombotic disorders. In the first scenario, an 18 year old with a history of heavy menstrual bleeding since menarche presents with abdominal pain and ultrasound findings suggestive of a hemorrhagic ovarian cyst. The association with an underlying bleeding disorder is recognized. The goals of management, which are controlling hemorrhage and preserving fertility, are stated. Ovarian suppression, the most effective method to prevent recurrent hemorrhagic ovarian cysts, is outlined. Long-term management of heavy menstrual bleeding with hormonal contraception is described. In the second scenario, the same patient returns 5 years later for a preconception visit. The potential risks to an unborn baby with von Willebrand disease (VWD) are addressed. The natural rise in von Willebrand factor (VWF) during pregnancy is discussed, but the fact that women with VWD do not achieve the same VWF levels as women without VWD is emphasized and the implications are presented. In anticipation of pregnancy, the need for nonhormonal management of heavy menstrual bleeding and hemorrhagic ovarian cysts is mentioned. In the third and final scenario, the patient's cousin with factor V Leiden seeks consultation regarding the risks of thrombosis with in vitro fertilization. The steps of assisted reproductive technology are described. The strategies to prevent venous thromboembolism by preventing ovarian hyperstimulation and reducing the likelihood of multiple gestation are detailed.
- Jennifer E. Dietrich, MD, MSc, FACOG, FAAP, Texas Children's Hospital
- Lakshmi Srivaths, MD, FAAP, Texas Children's Hospital
Significant gynecological bleeding in women with low von Willebrand factor levels. Blood Adv. 2018;2(14):1784–1791. doi:10.1182/bloodadvances.2018017418
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