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Haemophilia. 2015 Jul;21(4):530-7. doi: 10.1111/hae.12637. Epub 2015 Jan 27.

Point-of-care musculoskeletal ultrasound is critical for the diagnosis of hemarthroses, inflammation and soft tissue abnormalities in adult patients with painful haemophilic arthropathy.

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Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
College of Human Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA.
Department of Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
Division of Epidemiology, Family and Preventive Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology, Department of Medicine, University of California San Diego, San Diego, CA, USA.
Department of Molecular and Experimental Medicine, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA.


We previously demonstrated in adult patients with haemophilia (PWH) that hemarthrosis is present in only ~1/3rd of acutely painful joints by using point-of-care-musculoskeletal ultrasound (MSKUS). Therefore, other unrecognized tissue abnormalities must contribute to pain. Using high resolution MSKUS, employing grey scale and power Doppler, we sought to retrospectively (i) investigate soft tissue abnormalities in painful haemophilic joints and (ii) to determine to what extent MSKUS findings, functional or radiographic joint scores correlate with biomarkers of inflammation in PWH. Findings were correlated with Hemophilia Joint Health Scores (HJHS), Pettersson scores, high sensitivity C-reactive protein and von Willebrand factor activity and antigen levels. A total of 65 MSKUS examinations for acute and chronic joint pains were performed for 34 adult haemophilia patients, mostly for chronic joint pains (72.3%). The most prominent findings (66.5%) pertained to inflammatory soft tissue changes including synovitis, tendinitis, enthesitis, bursitis and fat pad inflammation. Effusions were present in 55.5% and 46.8% of MSKUS performed for acute and chronic pain, respectively. Of those, 90.0% were bloody during acute and 47.6% during persistent pains. While inflammatory biomarkers correlated well with overall HJHS and total Pettersson scores (P < 0.05), they did not differ between those patients with synovitis and those without. MSKUS is emerging as an important modality to diagnose treatable musculoskeletal abnormalities contributing to pain in haemophilic arthropathy, and therefore seems critical for a personalized approach to haemophilia care. The role of biomarkers in this setting remains less clear and requires further investigation.


arthropathy; bleeding; haemophilia; pain; synovitis; ultrasound

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