Introduction: In the last decades, the life expectancy of patients with hemophilia A (HA), hemophilia B (HB) and von Willebrand disease (VWD) has substantially improved. As a result, these patients experience age-related comorbidities, especially ischaemic heart disease. Safety and efficacy of antiplatelet drugs in patients with inherited bleeding disorders remain unclear, while there is no evidence-based guideline for the antithrombotic management in this population. The aims of our study were to describe the management of patients with HA, HB and VWD at the occurrence of ischaemic heart disease in our regional referral center; to compare this management to experts' recommendations; and to evaluate the safety and the efficacy of antiplatelet drugs in this population.

Methods: The source of population was the 2008-2018 cohort of patients with HA (n=565), HB (n=115) and VWD (n=618) followed at Toulouse University hospital (France). Their follow-up is recorded in electronic medical files. We retrospectively identified the patients who experienced an ischaemic heart disease treated by antiplatelet therapy. Ischaemic heart disease included ST- and non-ST-segment elevation acute myocardial infarction, stable and unstable angina, and silent coronary artery disease. We described the reperfusion therapy, the use of antiplatelet drugs and replacement factors, and the occurrence of bleeding or thrombotic complications during the follow-up.

Results: Eight patients had an ischaemic heart disease: 5 HA, 1 HB and 2 VWD patients. Four of the haemophilic patients had minor hemophilia; the two others had moderate hemophilia. VWD patients were one type 1 (FVIII 26%, VWF:Ag 13%) and one type 2B (FVIII 29%, VWF:Ag 75%, VWF :Act 24%, low platelet count). Age at the time of the cardiac event ranged from 49 to 80 years. All patients were men except the patient with type 2B VWD. Cardiovascular risk factors were frequent (overweight, n=5; hypercholesterolemia, n=4; smoking, n=4). Four patients were investigated because of cardiac symptoms (unstable angina, angina, dyspnea, palpitations, n=1 each), and one patient because of family history. The last 3 patients were investigated as part of a screening program including patients with a high cardiovascular risk estimation.

The initial management was as follows: 4 patients underwent a percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) and 4 had a triple coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). All patients treated with PCI had dual antiplatelet therapy for one month, then low-dose aspirin. CABG patients were initiated with low-dose aspirin. FVIII exposure was lower in PCI patients than in CABG patients (13 ± 10.42 versus 19 ± 9.35 cumulative exposure days to FVIII).

Four patients were managed with differences from current guidelines1-3: first, the woman with type 2B VWD was treated with two drug-eluting stents whereas bare-metal stents are recommended. Dual antiplatelet therapy was then initiated but stopped at one month because of microcytic anemia. She was then treated with acid acetylsalicylic, 160mg per day instead of 75mg, and presented a severe gastrointestinal bleeding. Second, the patient with HB (FIX 34%) received no replacement therapy during PCI and no proton pump inhibitors while treated by antiplatelet drug, but he experienced no bleeding. Third, a HA patient (FVIII 6%) had a trough level of FVIII slightly lower than recommended (FVIII 37% versus > 50%) at day 7 after CABG. He presented a hemopericardium the next day, complicated with cardiac tamponade. Lastly, a moderate HA patient had no long-term antiplatelet therapy after CABG. However, he did not experience any new cardiovascular event during the following 4 years.

During the follow-up (median: 24,5 months), only one HA (FVIII 20%) patient had a new cardiovascular event: a critical lower limb ischemia complicated with an arterial ulcer at the age of 91 years, 11 years after CABG. In contrast, 3 patients experienced a severe bleeding while treated by dual or low-dose aspirin: one hemopericardium, one gastrointestinal bleeding and one intracranial bleeding at J7 post-CABG, 13 months and 11 years after the cardiac event, respectively.

Conclusion: This series of 8 patients confirms the significant risk of severe bleeding complications when antiplatelet drug is initiated in patients with hemophilia or VWD. In 1/3 cases, the severe bleeding occurred despite strict adherence to current recommendations.


No relevant conflicts of interest to declare.

Author notes


Asterisk with author names denotes non-ASH members.