Better education on intravenous self-infusion may help significantly reduce the chances of prosthetic joint infection among patients with hemophilia, suggest researchers, in a study conducted at the Orthopaedic Institute for Children (OIC).

Joint replacement infection is more common among these patients than in other forms of arthritis. A common belief in the medical and scientific community is that this is the result of immune suppression in those with HIV infection. However, the physicians and researches at OIC weren’t so sure about that, notes a media release from OIC.

“Based on our experience and observations, we postulated that the primary risk factor was tied to frequent intravenous (IV) self-infusion,” says James Luck, MD, director of surgery and rehabilitation of OIC’s Hemophilia Treatment Center and professor-in-residence at the UCLA/Orthopaedic Institute for Children department of orthopaedic surgery.

“We wanted to find out the true cause of this and what could be done to mitigate the occurrence of these infections, which usually require removal of the implant, treatment of the infection, and then reinsertion of the implant. If the infection recurs, it will require more procedures and occasionally even amputation.”

Toward that end, in 2005 OIC’s Hemophilia Treatment Center began a comprehensive program of patient education in the proper use of IV self-infusion for all of its patients who had prosthetic joints. In the subsequent 6 years, the center performed 49 primary joint replacements in 32 patients with hemophilia, the release continues.

“Incidents of infection dropped from 17 percent to zero percent for these patients, meaning that there have been no primary infections over this timeframe,” Luck adds. “While immune suppression might still be an aggravating factor, it is clear from our study that the primary source of late infection in patients with hemophilia is frequent IV self-infusion being poorly administered. Through protocol-driven patient education in sterile techniques for IV self-infusion, the incidents of prosthetic joint infection can be significantly impacted.”

Findings from the study will be presented at the World Federation of Hemophilia’s annual meeting in Glasgow in May.

[Source(s): Orthopaedic Institute for Children, Business Wire]