June 7, 2000
The impact of HIV on the life expectancy of hemophiliacs has been dramatic. In a retrospective study of mortality among 701 hemophilic patients in the United States, median life expectancy for males with hemophilia increased from 40.9 years at the beginning of the century (1900-1920) to a high of 68 years after the introduction of factor therapy (1971 to 1980). In the era of AIDS (1981 to 1990), life expectancy declined to 49 years (Jones and Ratnoff, 1991) (Figure 6).
Another analysis found that the death rate for individuals with hemophilia A in the United States rose three-fold between the periods 1979-1981 and 1987-1989. Median age at death decreased from 57 years in 1979-1981 to 40 years in 1987-1989 (Chorba et al., 1994).
In the United Kingdom, 6,278 males diagnosed with hemophilia were living during the period 1977-91. During 1979-86, 1,227 were infected with HIV during transfusion therapy. Among 2,448 individuals with severe hemophilia, the annual death rate was stable at 8 per 1,000 during 1977-84; during 1985-92 death rates remained at 8 per 1,000 among HIV-seronegative persons with severe hemophilia but rose steeply in those who were seropositive, reaching 81 per 1,000 in 1991-92. Among 3,830 with mild or moderate hemophilia, the pattern was similar, with an initial death rate of 4 per 1,000 in 1977-84, rising to 85 per 1,000 in 1991-92 among seropositive individuals (Darby et al., 1995).
In a British cohort of hemophiliacs infected with HIV between 1979 and 1985 and followed prospectively, 50 of 111 patients had died by the end of 1994, 43 after a diagnosis of AIDS. Only eight of the 61 living patients had CD4+ T cell counts above 500/mm3 (Lee et al., 1995).