Hemophilia

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD
    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Charles Patrick Davis, MD, PhD

    Dr. Charles "Pat" Davis, MD, PhD, is a board certified Emergency Medicine doctor who currently practices as a consultant and staff member for hospitals. He has a PhD in Microbiology (UT at Austin), and the MD (Univ. Texas Medical Branch, Galveston). He is a Clinical Professor (retired) in the Division of Emergency Medicine, UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, and has been the Chief of Emergency Medicine at UT Medical Branch and at UTHSCSA with over 250 publications.

Take the Blood Disorders Quiz

How is hemophilia diagnosed?

The majority of patients with hemophilia have a known family history of the condition. However, about one-third of cases occur in the absence of a known family history. Most of these cases without a family history arise due to a spontaneous mutation in the affected gene. Other cases may be due to the affected gene being passed through a long line of female carriers.

If there is no known family history of hemophilia, a series of blood tests can identify which part or protein factor of the blood clotting mechanism is defective if an individual has abnormal bleeding episodes.

The platelet (a blood particle essential for the clotting process) count should be measured as well as two indices of blood clotting, the prothrombin time (PT) and activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT). A normal platelet count, normal PT, and a prolonged aPTT are characteristic of hemophilia A and hemophilia B. Specific tests for the blood clotting factors can then be performed to measure factor VII or factor IX levels and confirm the diagnosis.

Genetic testing to identify and characterize the specific mutations responsible for hemophilia is also available in specialized laboratories.

Is it possible to know if you are a carrier of hemophilia?

Since men with the genetic mutation will have hemophilia, a man who does not have the condition cannot be a carrier of the disease. A woman who has a son with known hemophilia is termed an obligate carrier, and no testing is needed to establish that she is a carrier of hemophilia.

Women whose carrier status is unknown can be evaluated either by testing for the clotting factors or by methods to characterize the mutation in the DNA. The DNA screening methods are generally the most reliable.

Prenatal diagnosis is also possible with DNA-based tests performed on a sample obtained through amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling. Most individuals are seen and tested by consultants who specialize in genetically linked diseases.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/21/2015
Blood and Bleeding Disorders Quiz
VIEW PATIENT COMMENTS
  • Hemophilia - Signs and Symptoms

    What were the signs and symptoms of hemophilia in you or someone you know?

    Post View 3 Comments
  • Hemophilia - Diagnosis

    Please describe the events that led to a diagnosis of hemophilia.

    Post View 1 Comment
  • Hemophilia - Treatment

    Please discuss your treatment for hemophilia.

    Post
  • Hemophilia - Infections

    Please share your experience with infections related to hemophilia.

    Post

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors