Chapter 108 

Clinical Aspects of and Therapy for Hemophilia B

Harold R. Roberts and T. Flint Gray III


Hemophilia B is a hereditary hemorrhagic disorder characterized by
genetic mutations leading to deficiency of factor IX coagulant activity.
Clinically, the disease is manifested by excessive or even spontaneous
bleeding, most often affecting the weight-bearing joints, soft tissues,
or mucous membranes.

The basis for distinguishing hemophilia B from hemophilia A was provided
by the observations of the Argentinian hematologist Pavlovsky 1 in 1947.
He observed that mixing blood of certain pairs of hemophilic patients in
vitro normalized the clotting time, and that transfusion of blood
between such a pair of subjects decreased the clotting time of the
recipient for >24 hours. 1 These findings were not initially understood,
but their significance was clarified in 1952 when several investigators
showed that although hemophilia A and B are clinically identical, the
defect in hemophilia B was due to the deficiency of a factor distinct
from factor VIII. 2,3 In contrast to factor VIII, the new factor was
found to be present in normal serum and adsorbable by barium sulfate.
Aggeler et al. 2 referred to the missing factor as plasma thromboplastin
component (PTC) and to the disease state as PTC deficiency. Shortly
thereafter, Biggs et al. 4 described a family with the surname Christmas
possessing a deficiency similar to that described by Aggeler, hence the
trivial name Christmas disease. PTC was termed factor IX in 1959 by the
International Committee on Nomenclature of Coagulation Factors.


Hemophilia B occurs in approximately 1 in 30,000 live male births,
significantly less frequently than hemophilia A. 5 Since the disease
displays X-linked recessive inheritance, females are very rarely
affected. When females are affected, it is usually the result of (1)
extreme lyonization, or (2) abnormalities of the X chromosome such as
Turner syndrome (45,XO karyotype), XO mosaicism, or other rare
abnormalities of the sex chromosome. MLID84126660 MLID91095453  6,7 It
is possible that disease in females could result from mating between a
hemophilia B father and a hemophilia B carrier mother. Hemophilia in
females is rare but has been described in human as well as animal
models. MLID73128293  8

The following generalizations are applicable to the inheritance of
hemophilia B: (1) all female offspring of a hemophilic father are
obligatory carriers for the hemophilic trait (46,XXh); (2) all male
offspring of a hemophilic father will be normal (46,XY); (3) female
offspring of hemophilia B carriers will have a 50% chance of being
carriers themselves; and (4) male offspring of carriers will have a 50%
chance of being afflicted with hemophilia B (Fig. 108-1). Carriers
usually have about 50% levels of factor IX but occasionally are
symptomatic and have circulating factor IX levels of <20% of normal. If
one carrier in a kindred has low levels of factor IX as the result of
extreme lyonization, other carriers in the same kindred may be similarly
affected. Symptomatic hemophilia B carriers may be more common than
symptomatic hemophilia A carriers.

About one-third of all cases of hemophilia B are the result of de novo
mutations, as might have been predicted on the basis of observations by
Haldane 9 with regard to hemophilia A. The incidence of mutations
involving CpG dinucleotides in the DNA sequence is higher in general and
for hemophilia A and B in particular. MLID87065092 MLID84106807
MLID86230841  1012

Although carriers may be detected by pedigree analysis or phenotypic
evaluation (e.g., measurement of factor IX activity), the sensitivity of
such testing is mediocre due to the variability of X-chromosome
inactivation. MLID90086789  13 Linkage studies using restriction
fragment length polymorphism analysis have demonstrated the potential to
assign carriership with increased sensitivity. MLID90086789  13,14 More
recently, the polymerase chain reaction combined with high-performance
liquid chromatography has been used to detect heterozygosity.
MLID93028417  15 The analysis by immunoassay of the phenotypic
expression of an exonic polymorphism affecting the factor IX protein has
also been used to detect the carrier status. MLID89027094  16 The
standardization of these techniques should allow more accurate carrier
detection and improved genetic counseling.

Etiology and Pathogenesis

Hemophilia B is heterogeneous in both its clinical severity and
molecular pathogenesis (see Ch. 107). Clinical severity (mild, moderate,
or severe bleeding) roughly correlates with the level of factor IX
activity, as shown in Table 108-1 Table 108-1. The decreased factor IX
activity results from decreased production of factor IX or production of
a defective molecule deficient in enzymatic activity, or both. For
example, the genetic defect in factor IX Chapel Hill causes defective
activation, a lesion that results in mild hemophilia B. MLID79048622  17
In factor IX Alabama the genetic defect causes defective interaction
with activated factor VIII, such that moderate hemophilia B ensues. 18
The genetic defect in factor IX Lake Elsinore alters the catalytic
region of the factor IX molecule and leads to severe hemophilia B.
MLID85080602  19 These variants of hemophilia B each exhibit a different
structural alteration in the factor IX molecule, leading to a variable
decrease in function and clinical severity. In some hemophilia B
patients, factor IX molecules are undetectable; these patients are
invariably severely affected. A particularly interesting variant is
hemophilia B Leiden. MLID82148445  20 At birth these patients have
severe disease with <1% factor IX activity, but beginning in
adolescence, the factor IX levels gradually rise to E50% of normal. The
mutations responsible for hemophilia B Leiden occurs in the promoter
region of the factor IX gene 5' to the initiation site. The promoter
region contains an androgen response element that is thought to
stimulate transcription and subsequent synthesis of factor IX. When
treated in preadolescence with exogenous androgen, these patients
exhibit gradual increases in factor IX levels mimicking that seen in

Clinical Manifestations

General Considerations

Clinical manifestations of hemophilia B, which are indistinguishable
from those of hemophilia A, are sometimes noted at the time of
circumcision, but excessive bleeding following this event is less
frequent than commonly believed. More often, easy bruising and frequent
hematomas are noted by mothers of affected infants. Hematomas and
hemarthroses are characteristic of factor IX and other procoagulant
deficiencies and distinguish them from bleeding resulting from
qualitative and quantitative platelet disorders.

Bleeding in hemophilia B is sometimes delayed and may not become
noticeable until several days after minor trauma. Hematomas in patients
with hemophilia tend to dissect through tissues along fascial planes.
For example, a small hematoma originating in the buttock after an
intramuscular injection may dissect to involve muscles of the back and
leg and may even become life-threatening.


The hallmark of severe hemophilia is repeated hemarthroses, resulting in
chronic, crippling hemophilic arthropathy. 21 In decreasing order of
frequency, the most commonly involved joints are the knee, elbow, ankle,
shoulder, wrist, and hip. The first indication of a joint hemorrhage is
a sensation of intra-articular burning, followed by a sensation of
fullness, tightness, swelling, and increasing pain leading to limitation
of motion. Although the intra-articular space is enclosed by a synovial
lining that limits the extent of bleeding, joint swelling may be severe
enough to compromise neurovascular function. Involuntary muscle
splinting due to pain leads to joint immobilization and initiates a
vicious cycle of atrophy and contracture. Repeated bleeding into a joint
results in deposition of hemosiderin, which contributes to synovial
inflammation and increased vascularity, predisposing to further
bleeding. Joints with a chronically inflamed and hypertrophic synovium
are referred to as "target joints" and are susceptible to recurrent
hemarthroses unless treated for several weeks with factor IX replacement
therapy. With repeated bleeding, destruction of intra-articular
cartilage and adjacent bone occurs and leads to progressive
deterioration of joint function with further muscle atrophy and
contracture. The joint deformity that occurs in severe hemophilia is so
characteristic that it is virtually diagnostic of hemophilia A or B. A
detailed radiologic classification of hemophilic arthropathy based on
eight criteria and level of severity has been used for initial
orthopaedic evaluation and to evaluate the effect of prophylactic
therapy. MLID81002554  22


Pseudotumors are cystic lesions that arise in patients with clotting
factor deficiencies, most commonly hemophilia A or B. The cysts arise
from hematomas and may begin in the subperiosteal area of bone or in
soft tissue. Once formed, the lesions tend to expand, probably due to
repeated bleeding and osmosis. When the cystic lesions become
sufficiently large, they are referred to as pseudotumors, which may be
lobulated and consist of a thick, brownish necrotic core of debris
surrounded by a thick fibrous wall. Expansion may lead to obstruction or
compression of adjacent organs, or rupture through the skin or into
nearby viscera. Such complications may be accompanied by infection.
Surgical resection is the therapy of choice, but may be unsuccessful
when a pseudotumor becomes unduly large. For this reason, surgical
excision is suggested early in the course of development of
pseudotumors. Other types of treatment, such as radiation, drainage, or
factor IX replacement therapy, are not effective.

Neurologic Symptoms

Intracranial hemorrhage is one of the major causes of death in
hemophilia B and may occur even in the absence of recognizable trauma.
However, few hemophilic infants have intracranial hemorrhage as a
complication of vaginal delivery. Because intracranial hemorrhage is
often catastrophic, such bleeding must be prevented if possible. Any
sign or symptom suggestive of intracranial hemorrhage should be treated
as a potential medical emergency. For example, any unusual or peculiar
headache in a hemophilic patient should be considered due to an
intracranial hemorrhage until proven otherwise. Thus, prompt treatment
with factor IX concentrate is indicated prior to any diagnostic
procedures such as computed tomography scans, skull radiographs, or
other procedures. Appropriate diagnostic tests should be obtained only
after the patient's clotting defect is corrected. Intracranial bleeding
exemplifies the shortcomings of current replacement therapy of
hemophilia B and points out the need for a continuous level of factor IX
(such as that provided by prophylactic therapy), since hemorrhage into
the central nervous system may result in serious or fatal complications
before "on demand" treatment can be instituted. Other bleeding
complications affecting nervous tissue include neuropathies that result
from compression of nerves by hematomas or intraneural bleeding, or
both. Peripheral nerve compression by a hematoma is a particularly
common problem, as exemplified by femoral nerve palsy secondary to
retroperitoneal hematoma that dissects into and compresses the femoral
canal. The prognosis for recovery after prolonged nerve compression is
poor, again necessitating an aggressive treatment approach based on
clinical suspicion.

Soft Tissue Hemorrhage

Soft tissue hemorrhage in hemophilia B may be mild and uncomplicated, as
in a small localized hematoma, but must be treated with care due to the
risk of progression via dissection and resultant serious complications.
Large dissecting hematomas can occur rapidly in a matter of hours or
slowly over a period of days. Soft tissue hemorrhages may be
particularly dangerous when occult dissection into enclosed areas
occurs. For example, major blood loss and compromise of vital structures
may occur when hemorrhage into the retroperitoneal space dissects
inferiorly into the femoral canal or superiorly through the diaphragm
and thoracic cavity. Significant blood loss can also be concealed in the
soft tissues of the limbs. Hemorrhage in the oropharynx or neck that
initially appears to be minor is particularly dangerous since it may
rapidly enlarge to compress the airway and threaten life. These
complications can be most easily recognized if they are considered in
the course of a careful evaluation; they can usually be prevented by
prompt treatment of minor hemorrhages.


Most patients with severe hemophilia B will experience hematuria during
their lifetimes. Gross hematuria occurs frequently and sometimes leads
to significant blood loss. On the first occasion, gross hematuria should
be evaluated with appropriate diagnostic studies, but most often a
structural lesion will not be found. Subsequent episodes of hematuria do
not require extensive restudy. Small, occult erosions of the renal
pelvis may sometimes cause such hematuria. The most common complication
of hematuria is renal colic caused by ureteral obstruction with clots.
Hematuria is sometimes self-limited to a few days, but it may persist
for weeks or months if untreated.

Laboratory Evaluation and Differential Diagnosis

The clinical diagnosis of hemophilia B should be considered in any male
with a lifelong history of crippling hemarthroses and in any infant with
evidence of abnormal bleeding. Mild or moderate hemophilia B should be
considered in any person with abnormal surgical bleeding or hematoma
formation out of proportion to injury. Hemarthrosis in a patient with a
prolonged partial thromboplastin time (PTT) suggests the diagnosis of
either hemophilia A or hemophilia B. Definitive diagnosis of hemophilia
B requires a specific assay for factor IX. The prothrombin time (PT),
thrombin time, and bleeding time are usually normal. However, there is a
variant of hemophilia B, termed hemophilia BM (subscript referring to
the index family surname, Martin), characterized by an abnormal ox-brain
PT as well as a prolonged PTT. 23 The usual PT, performed with rabbit or
human brain thromboplastin, is normal or only slightly prolonged. The
molecular biology of this variant has been well studied, suggesting that
the prolonged ox-brain PT may result from competitive inhibition of
factor VII by factor IX for the substrate, factor X. MLID89135000
MLID82250782  2426

Screening tests of coagulation may be normal in mild or even moderate
hemophilia B since as little as 2030% of normal levels of factor IX
activity may be sufficient to yield a normal PTT. Thus, the patient's
clinical and family history of hemorrhage, with particular attention to
a history of bleeding after surgical procedures and dental extractions,
is a more reliable indicator of a bleeding disorder than screening tests
of clotting function (such as the PTT and PT). Hemophilia B is
distinguished from acquired coagulopathies on the basis of its lifelong
symptoms and its sex-linked transmission within an involved kindred. A
lack of family history does not rule out the diagnosis, however, since
approximately one-third of mutations occur de novo.

The level of factor IX activity usually correlates well with the
observed clinical severity. In severe hemophilia B patients, the factor
IX levels are usually <1% of normal and are associated with frequent
"spontaneous" bleeding episodes, so called because the patient can
recall no specific trauma. Factor IX levels of 15% are usually
associated with moderate disease, while levels of >5% are usually
predictive of mild hemophilia B. Overlap between these categories is
common. Table 108-1 Table 108-1 describes the features of mild,
moderate, and severe hemophilia B. Spontaneous bleeding is uncommon with
factor IX levels of >2530% of normal, although excessive bleeding may
occur with trauma or surgery. A normal PTT does not alone guarantee
levels of factor IX activity sufficient to prevent abnormal surgical


General Considerations

Replacement therapy is dictated by the location of bleeding and whether
it is mild, moderate, or severe. 27 1-Deamino-8-arginine vasopressin
(DDAVP) is of no value in hemophilia B. Antifibrinolytic agents such as
e-aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid are useful following dental
extractions but are of no value in treating hemarthroses. These agents
should never be used to treat hematuria because of the chance of
developing ureteral clots with subsequent obstruction and, on occasion,
renal failure. MLID87124813  28 Aspirin should be avoided in hemophilia
B. The pain of hemophilic arthropathy can be treated with acetaminophen
or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. The latter may enhance the
bleeding tendency; therefore, different ones should be tried in an
attempt to find the one best tolerated by the patient. Because of the
danger of addiction in patients with frequent painful bleeding episodes,
it is wise to avoid using narcotics (codeine, morphine, meperidine) for
chronic pain, although the fear of addiction should not deter the
physician from using narcotics when appropriate for acute presentations.
Narcotic use in hemophilic patients should be closely monitored and the
dangers of addiction openly and frankly discussed with the patient (see
Ch. 107).

Dosage in Replacement Therapy

One unit of factor IX is defined as the amount of factor IX activity
present in 1 ml of pooled normal human plasma and is equivalent to 100%
activity. The dose of factor IX needed to achieve a desired level of
activity can be calculated based on estimation of the patient's plasma
volume and knowledge of factor IX kinetics.

Plasma volume may be estimated as 5% of body weight or 50 ml/kg body
weight. Thus the plasma volume of a 70-kg patient is approximately 3,500
ml. By definition, for such a patient to have 100% factor IX activity, 1
U/ml or a total of 3,500 U of factor IX must be present in this plasma
volume. If severe hemophilia B is present, it may be assumed the initial
factor IX activity is zero. Thus, to obtain 100% activity E3,500 U of
factor IX must be administered. Because of rapid redistribution into the
extravascular space and adsorption onto endothelial cells of vessel
walls, however, only about 50% of the infused factor IX remains in
circulation after a short period. In this hypothetical patient,
therefore, the initial dose to obtain 100% activity must be 7,000 U. To
generalize to any size patient with any initial factor IX level and any
desired target level, infusion of 1 U/kg body weight of factor IX will
raise the factor IX level approximately 1%. For example, a dose of 1,750
U would raise a 50-kg patient from a starting factor IX level of 15% to
a target of 50% activity.

After its initial rapid redistribution, factor IX has a second phase
half-life of approximately 1824 hours. MLID81256015  29 Because the
variability in this measurement is significant, it is best determined in
each individual patient to allow proper dosing. Based on these data, the
factor IX level of a patient raised to 100% activity would be expected
to decay to 50% by approximately 24 hours after infusion of the initial
dose. A second bolus one-half the amount of the first should then raise
the level from 50% to 100% factor IX activity. Factor IX is commonly
administered in boluses every 1224 hours. Figure 108-2 illustrates the
kinetics of factor IX decay. It is generally recommended that factor IX
levels be monitored after the initial bolus and then daily (initially
with peak and trough measurements) to allow individual adjustment in
dosing in the treatment of significant bleeding, or in surgical
patients. The use of a constant infusion of factor IX to maintain a
steady-state level, as has been done with factor VIII concentrates, has
not been reported with the recently available highly purified factor IX
preparations. Constant infusion of crude factor IX concentrates is not


Fresh frozen plasma or the supernatant from cryoprecipitated plasma can
be used as a source of factor IX replacement. However, plasma therapy is
limited by the volumes that must be administered, since each milliliter
contains only 1 U factor IX activity. It is difficult to achieve
increments in factor IX activity >1015% of normal with plasma alone.
Thus, plasma therapy is not generally recommended since highly purified
preparations free of transmissible viruses are now available. In the
absence of factor IX concentrates, however, adult patients can tolerate
a loading dose of plasma of about 20 ml/kg body weight, followed by 36
ml plasma/kg body weight every 812 hours. The use of purified factor IX
preparations in all hemophilia B patients without inhibitors is now the
treatment of choice.

Factor IX Concentrates

When factor IX levels higher than can be achieved with plasma are
needed, factor IX concentrates are used. MLID66003705 MLID69109123
MLID93206143  3033 Until recently, pure preparations of factor IX were
not available, and crude preparations referred to as prothrombin complex
concentrates (PCCs) were used. PCCs are obtained from DEAE Sephadex
adsorption of the supernatant from cryoprecipitated plasma and contain
variable quantities of factors VII, IX, and X, prothrombin, protein C,
and protein S. The purity of these products is in the range of 15 U
factor IX activity/mg protein. MLID93206143  33 The presence of these
other factors allows the use of these preparations as replacement
therapy for other factor deficiencies (see Ch. 110). Table 108-2 Table
108-2 describes selected PCCs containing factor IX. These products are
now considered safe in regard to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and
hepatitis virus transmission.

Despite their utility, PCCs have been less than ideal therapy for
hemophilia B due to the presence of clotting factors other than factor
IX, which are unnecessary for the treatment of hemophilia B and may
contribute to the risk of thromboembolic phenomena (e.g., deep venous
thrombosis, disseminated intravascular coagulation [DIC]), which have
been associated with use of these products. For this reason, dosing with
crude preparations to raise factor IX activity to >50% of normal has
been recommended only with great caution. Recently, highly purified
factor IX concentrates have become available, allowing safer and more
liberal therapy. Purified factor IX is prepared by improved
chromatographic procedures that allow better separation of factor IX
from the other clotting factors. The purity of the factor IX obtained is
2 orders of magnitude higher than with the crude preparations and
contains 50200 U factor IX/mg protein. Multiple studies have documented
the clinical efficacy, lack of thrombogenicity, and viral safety of the
purified preparations. MLID93206143 MLID92119275 MLID91246863
MLID92303539 MLID91091494  3337 The decreased risk of thrombosis
permits dosing to 100% activity. The currently available purified factor
IX preparations are listed in Table 108-2 Table 108-2, and they are now
the treatment of choice for hemophilia B patients.

Current approach to therapy for Hemophilia B

The use of prophylactic therapy should now be  strongly considered for
new severely affected patients  with hemophilia B. Twice weekly dosing
with 2540 U/ kg highly purified factor IX should prevent spontaneous 
bleeding and the development of chronic joint disease.  If prophylactic
therapy is not possible, prompt on  demand therapy should be
available. When life-threaten ing hemorrhage is suspected, such as in
the central  nervous system or near the airway, factor IX should be 
administered immediately before any diagnostic  procedures are
performed. Antifibrinolytic agents are helpful  in preventing bleeding
following dental procedures, but  are not recommended for treatment of
other  hemorrhagic events in patients without inhibitors. These agents 
are contraindicated in the treatment of hematuria due to  the risk of
ureteral obstruction.


Hemarthroses/Superficial Hematomas

Most hemarthroses can be treated with one or two doses of factor IX with
a goal of reaching plasma factor IX levels of about 2530% of normal.
Typically this involves the administration of about 30 U factor IX/kg
body weight. The same dose may be repeated, if needed, at 24-hour
intervals. Similar doses are given for superficial and small hematomas.
Should hematomas appear to be dissecting at the time of diagnosis,
factor IX should be administered until the dissection ceases and
resolution of the hematoma begins.

Major Bleeding

Major bleeding episodes (i.e., those involving the gastrointestinal
tract or central nervous system, or life-threatening bleeding in or
around the airway or retroperitoneal space) should be treated with
factor IX in doses sufficient to achieve levels of E50% of normal;
usually higher levels are indicated. Levels of 100% can be achieved
using the pure factor IX preparations with minimal risk of thrombosis.
Treatment should be continued for F710 days, or until the bleeding
episode is controlled and resolution of the hematoma begins. Therapeutic
recommendations are summarized in Table 108-3 Table 108-3.

Monitoring Therapy

Factor IX therapy lasting <1 or 2 days or given for a hemarthrosis need
not be monitored by factor IX assays as long as the patient does not
have an inhibitor and is known to respond to conventional doses of
factor IX. When factor IX is administered for serious bleeding, assays
for factor IX immediately after the initial dose and on a daily basis
thereafter are indicated to maintain peak levels of 50100% and minimum
levels of 2550%. Replacement therapy with crude factor IX concentrates
for >57 days should be monitored carefully in light of the potential
for thrombotic complications.


Viral Hepatitis and HIV Infection

The success of treatment of hemophilia with clotting factor concentrates
has been tempered first by the transmission of viral hepatitis and, more
recently, by HIV transmission.

Most patients who received factor IX concentrates before 1984 show
evidence of hepatitis B infection. 38 Many of these patients have
chronic hepatitis, and a proportion have developed cirrhosis, which can
be of particular concern in the hemophilic population due to the risk of
bleeding from varices. Hepatitis C, which accounts for most non-A, non-B
hepatitis, is now thought to be the major cause of chronic liver disease
in these patients. Efforts to decrease the risk of hepatitis in donated
blood began with screening for hepatitis B surface antigen in 1972.
Before the recent introduction of a test for hepatitis C antibody,
elevated alanine aminotransferase and hepatitis B core antibody were
used as surrogate markers of hepatitis C infection. The use of the
hepatitis C virus antibody test should further decrease the risk of
contamination of plasma-derived products with hepatitis C virus.

In addition to screening of the blood supply, the availability of the
hepatitis B vaccine since the 1980s has allowed further means to
decrease the risk of hepatitis B infection. All hemophilic patients not
previously infected with hepatitis B should be vaccinated. Hepatitis C
vaccines are not presently available.

The problem of hepatitis infection led to the addition of viral
inactivation steps to the manufacture of clotting factor concentrates
beginning in 1983. The methods used include dry heating, heating in
solution or in solvent-suspension, treatment with solvent/detergents,
and immunoaffinity chromatography and ultrafiltration. MLID93206146  39

In retrospective studies, HIV seropositivity was detected in blood
samples from multitransfused hemophilic patients from as early as 1978.
AIDS was first reported in hemophilic patients in 1982, but most
seroconversions probably occurred between 1981 and 1983. MLID86131971 
40 AIDS has now exceeded hemorrhagic complications as the most common
cause of death in the hemophilic population. HIV infection rates have
been significantly lower for patients treated with factor IX
concentrates (3050%) compared with those treated with factor VIII
concentrates (7090%), probably due to the additional steps in
manufacture of factor IX concentrates. MLID93206147  38,42 Fortunately,
all current clotting factor concentrates appear to be safe in terms of
transmission of viral disease. However, because clotting factor
concentrates are prepared from pooled human plasma from as many as
20,00030,000 donors, the possibility exists for contamination with new
pathogenic viruses resistant to current inactivation practices. There is
also a remote possibility of breakdown in the manufacturing process that
could result in viral contamination of clotting factor preparations. The
development of recombinant methods for production of factor IX may
decrease the risk of these potential problems. MLID93206147  42

Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation and Thromboembolism

Thromboembolic complications, including DIC, deep venous thrombosis, and
pulmonary embolism have been associated with the use of crude factor IX
concentrates. MLID76229869 MLID91022651 MLID73196994  4345 In an early
series of 13 hemophilia B patients undergoing surgery, 6 patients had
significant postoperative thrombosis, including 3 with deep vein
thromboses and 3 with pulmonary emboli (one fatal). 46 Similar
complications have occurred in nonsurgical settings, although perhaps
not as frequently. In addition to thromboembolic phenomena, there are
several reports of myocardial infarction occurring in young patients
following the use of crude concentrates. MLID81193972 MLID84272071 
4648 Diffuse thrombosis and a peculiar myocardial necrosis have been
documented on autopsy in a few patients treated with crude factor IX
products. MLID83244876  49 Most patients had no sign of atherosclerosis
or other cardiac disease.

Different mechanisms have been proposed for the complications of DIC or
thrombosis, or both, that occur when PCCs are used. Since many of these
complications are seen in patients with liver disease, it is possible
that failure of the liver to clear activated clotting factors from the
circulation predisposes to thrombosis. Factors VIIa, IXa, and Xa are
known to be present in some but not all the products. MLID75053044
MLID80043411 MLID79166675  5052 Factor VIIa, with a half-life of 24
hours, is a potential thrombogenic agent, although factor
Xa-phospholipid complexes are also suspect. MLID82114107  53 These
findings contrast with the absence of activated factors in the highly
purified factor IX concentrates MLID93206143 MLID92119275 MLID91246863
MLID92303539 MLID91091494  3337 (Fig. 108-3). Clinical trials of
purified factor IX, including use in surgical settings, have been
notable for a lack of thrombosis, validating the advantage of the pure
preparations. MLID92119275 MLID91246863 MLID92303539 MLID91091494  3438


Inhibitors to factor IX are observed in about 24% of severely affected
hemophilia B patients, a lower prevalence than factor VIII inhibitors in
hemophilia A. MLID92376744  54,55 They are highly restricted polyclonal
alloantibodies (usually IgG4-k) and occur frequently in patients who
have undetectable factor IX antigen. MLID88240936  56 Hemophilia B
patients with inhibitors frequently exhibit partial or complete
deletions in the factor IX gene, although patients with measurable but
abnormal factor IX antigen also develop inhibitors. MLID88264925
MLID91011130 MLID87138319  5759

Inhibitors are quantified by measurement of factor IX activity in mixes
of serial dilutions of inhibitor-containing plasma with pooled normal
human plasma (containing factor IX). The strength of inhibition of
factor IX activity is expressed in Bethesda inhibitor units (BIU).
MLID89059734  60,61 One BIU is defined as a 50% reduction in the
activity of factor IX in the mixture under standard conditions of time
and temperature. Inhibitors complicate the treatment of hemophilia B and
preclude the use of conventional therapy. It is possible to overcome low
titers of inhibitor (<10 BIU) with increased doses of factor IX, while
in the case of high-titer inhibitor (>10 BIU) this is not possible.
Therefore, the treatment of patients with inhibitors can be divided into
three approaches: (1) overcoming low-titer inhibitors with increased
factor IX doses, (2) providing factor IX "bypassing" activity in
patients with high-titer inhibitors, and (3) removing or suppressing the

In the case of patients with low-titer inhibitors, higher than normal
doses of purified factor IX can be administered in an effort to achieve
a measurable circulating level of factor IX. If satisfactory levels of
factor IX are not achieved, a trial of PCC administration (in the range
of 75100 U/kg body weight every 812 hours) may be of value since these
crude preparations contain putative inhibitor "bypassing" activity. The
risk of thrombosis related to the use of PCCs is presumably decreased by
the anti-factor IX antibody, although this has not been proved. If
satisfactory amounts of factor IX overcome the inhibitor, an anamnestic
response may be induced so that the antibody titer increases to levels
much >10 BIU. Anamnesis may occur within 5 days after initiation of
treatment. An anamnestic response of >10 BIU defines a high responder
patient. Those who do not respond to factor IX with an anamnestic
increase in antibody are termed low responders.

Hemophilia B patients with high-titer inhibitors may be treated with
activated prothrombin complex concentrates such as Autoplex or FEIBA.
Although these preparations contain factor IX, its presence in this
setting is irrelevant due to the excess of inhibitor; the utility of
these products derives from their ability to provide activated clotting
factors that "bypass" factor IX. Therefore, monitoring of factor IX
activity is not warranted, and the preparations are dosed empirically.
Thromboembolic events, including DIC, have been reported with FEIBA and
Autoplex. MLID92345426  62 The administration of activated concentrates
in the setting of a high-titer inhibitor does not guarantee adequate
hemostasis, which is achieved in only 6080% of cases. For this reason,
close monitoring is required in treatment of hemorrhage. Elective
surgery should not be performed when patients are using activated PCCs.
Table 108-3 Table 108-3 depicts the characteristics of Autoplex and
FEIBA. A potentially effective therapy for patients with factor IX
inhibitors is recombinant factor VIIa. This factor, administered to dogs
with hemophilia B, is effective in stopping bleeding from a standardized
bleeding site. MLID93244545  64 Experience in human studies and clinical
trials has been encouraging. MLID93244545 MLID91337932 MLID93015524 

The removal or suppression of inhibitors is difficult and expensive and
in many affected patients has not been attempted. Temporary removal of
inhibitors has been attempted through extracorporeal adsorption methods.
The use of immunosuppression and the induction of immune tolerance
through prolonged daily factor IX infusion or intravenous immunoglobulin
administration, or both, have been investigated. Combinations of these
approaches have also been used with varying success. MLID93015524
MLID94054292 MLID93122638  6668


Surgical procedures can be done safely in hemophilia B patients who are
undergoing factor IX replacement therapy, except when high-titer
inhibitors are present. MLID92303539 MLID86091472  36,69 Factor IX
levels should be raised to 100% of normal with a purified factor IX
concentrate before surgery and maintained by infusions of factor IX
every 1224 hours for 710 days, depending on the type of surgery.

Prognosis and Future Directions

Before the era of effective therapy for hemophilia B, the life
expectancy of a patient was 11 years. 70 When factor IX concentrates
became available, life expectancy was dramatically improved despite the
ensuing epidemic of hepatitis. The introduction of HIV infection into
more than one-half of the patients between 1978 and 1983 has resulted in
increased mortality from the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.
However, the availability of concentrates free of HIV and hepatitis
viruses holds the promise of a virtually normal life span for new
patients and those who have avoided HIV infection. The recent
introduction of purified factor IX products has freed hemophilia B
patients from the risks of iatrogenic thrombosis and suboptimal
treatment present with crude factor IX preparations. Previously
untreated patients, or those treated since 1985 may expect a normal life
span in the absence of central nervous system bleeding, provided that
factor IX concentrates are readily available.

In addition to "on demand," therapy, prophylactic therapy of hemophilia
B is now possible. Continued regularly scheduled factor IX infusions
once or twice weekly may prevent the development of hemarthroses in very
young patients and allow a more active life style with decreased
complications in patients of all ages. Although prophylactic therapy is
expensive, consideration should be given to the potential savings gained
from a decreased complication rate and increased productivity of
patients so treated.

The most exciting prospect for treatment of hemophilia B is the
possibility of cure through gene therapy. Since the determination of the
factor IX gene structure, rapid progress has been made in developing
methods to transfer and maintain the gene, first in in vitro cell
cultures and more recently directly into animals. MLID89134956
MLID94023934  14,71,72 Refinement of gene transfer techniques may lead
to the ability to provide low-cost, safe, prophylactic therapy to
hemophilic patients in the future, allowing them to lead a normal life.