Background - Acquired haemophilia A (AHA) is a rare bleeding disorder due to autoantibodies to coagulation factor VIII that may be secondary to autoimmune diseases, cancer, drugs, pregnancy, infections, or be idiopathic. Recurrent bleeding, often severe, mostly in muscles and soft tissues, and isolated prolonged activated partial thromboplastin time (aPTT), in the absence of personal and family history of bleeding, are typical features that should raise the suspicion of AHA. Poor awareness of the disease results in diagnostic delays and inappropriate treatment.
Materials and methods - The Italian Association of Haemophilia Centres (AICE) developed consensus recommendations in cooperation with the Italian Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (SISET). The document was shared with scientific societies of specialist physicians, laboratory professionals and pharmacists to spread knowledge about AHA and promote appropriate diagnosis/treatment.
Results - Ready availability of the aPTT mixing test is crucial, although diagnostic confirmation and optimal management require prompt referral of patients to specialised centres with rapidly available diagnostic and therapeutic facilities. If immediate referral is unfeasible, treatment must be undertaken early, under guidance of specialised centres or based on shared protocols. Recommendations about diagnosis, general management and, in bleeding patients, haemostatic therapy using bypassing agents or replacement treatment, including the recently available recombinant porcine factor VIII, are provided, considering the different clinical settings and laboratory facilities.
Discussion - This consensus document aims to improve the overall healthcare pathways for AHA, harmonise the management and therapeutic approaches to newly diagnosed patients and reduce the still relevant complications and mortality in this setting.
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