Continuous infusion in haemophilia: current practice in Europe.
ABSTRACT Continuous infusion (CI) of factor VIII (FVIII) is an effective method for replacement therapy in haemophilia. Recently, concerns have been raised regarding association of CI with the development of inhibitors. The aim of this study was to gain information on the current practices in Europe regarding CI and the true inhibitor incidence after this mode of therapy. In a cross sectional study performed in 22 Comprehensive Care Centres (CCCs), we evaluated CI techniques, treatment protocols, efficacy, safety and complications of CI including inhibitors. Thirteen (59%) CCCs reported a total of 1079 CI treatments, given peri-operatively or for major bleeds, in 742 patients. Most centres used 'adjusted dose' CI aimed at median target FVIII level of 0.8 IU mL(-1). CI was haemostatically very effective with a low incidence of complications: median incidence of postoperative bleeding was 1.8%, six centres observed phlebitis in 2-11% of CI treatments. Only nine (1.2%) patients developed inhibitors (0.45% of 659 severe and 7.2% of 83 mild haemophilia patients). Additional analysis of inhibitor patients revealed several confounding factors (low number of prior FVIII exposure days, high steady-state factor levels during CI, high-risk genotype). In this unprecedentedly large cohort, CI treatment appears to be an effective and safe treatment that does not increase the risk of inhibitor development in patients with severe haemophilia. Thus, previous small case series reports suggesting that CI may increase inhibitors cannot be confirmed. Inhibitor risk in mild haemophilia could not be evaluated as the influence of other, potentially confounding, risk factors could not be excluded.