Use of arteriovenous fistula in children with bleeding disorders


Haemophilia and associated bleeding disorders are chronic conditions that require easy, accessible, and reliable venous access for treatment. Peripheral venous access is traditionally the first option considered for prophylaxis. The initial introduction of prophylaxis to a child is during the first two years of life, and peripheral access can be problematic. Central venous catheters (CVC), for example port-a-caths, are widely used among this group; however, these devices require surgical insertion and are not without their own complications. Data were collected on venous access methods used at the paediatric centre at the Evelina London Children’s Hospital, where 242 children are registered at the comprehensive care centre, 48 of whom have a severe bleeding disorder. Of these 48, 27 have a CVC currently (PICC n=1, Port-a-Cath n=25, Hickman line n=1) and 3 have an arteriovenous fistula (AVF). Patient 1 is a 12 year-old boy with severe haemophilia A and an intracranial haemorrhage at the age of 9 months. He remains on prophylaxis and had an AVF created 5 years ago following repeated port-a-cath infections and poor venous access. Patient 2 is a 7 year-old boy with severe haemophilia B and an inhibitor, who has also had repeated port-a-cath infections. An AVF was constructed 2 years ago. Patient 3 is a 12 year-old girl with type III von Willebrand disease and an inhibitor. Due to need for regular factor treatment in the context of poor venous access, an AVF was formed. We have had a 100% success rate with all three AVFs at a follow-up period of 8-69 months. Our experience suggests AVF is a viable option of venous access in patients with haemophilia and other bleeding disorders, especially so for children with repeated CVC infections or poor peripheral venous access. However, this is not a straightforward option and further evidence on long-term use based on multicentre research will be beneficial in managing AVF in this group of patients.

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