Many bleeding disorders community members are concerned about medical care, doctor visits, and how living with a bleeding disorder is being complicated by COVID-19. We address some of the most frequently asked questions:

Q: We have an appointment scheduled with our HTC next week. Should we still go?
A:聽All patients/caregivers should contact their HTC or doctor to discuss the specific details. Please use your medical provider鈥檚 guidance as to whether or not you should attend your appointment. We imagine the nature of the appointment will impact their decision: an acute bleed versus a routine checkup may result in different guidance.

Q: Our HTC hasn’t contacted us. How do we know what to do?
A: Many HTCs are working hard to gather information specific for their patients. Some might contact patients, but some might not have the bandwidth to initiate contact with all of their patients right now. If you have questions or concerns, please contact your HTC or specialty pharmacy. The CDC offers this list of HTCs.

Q: We have to travel quite a distance to our HTC. Are we supposed to travel to our HTC?聽
A:聽Everyone should listen to the recommendations and guidance coming from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and from their local, city and state governments on travel and social distancing. In general, authorities advice all U.S. citizens should minimize unnecessary travel out of their homes to minimize potential exposure to the virus. Though, your medical care and treatment of your bleeding disorder is crucial to your health. That is why it is so important that you contact your HTC or doctor to get their advice regarding a visit to your HTC.

Q: Does having a bleeding disorder put me in a higher risk category for contracting COVID-19?
A:聽As of March 17, the CDC has indicated the following medical conditions increase the risk of serious COVID-19 for individuals of any age:

  • Blood disorders (e.g., sickle cell disease or on blood thinners)
  • Chronic kidney disease as defined by your doctor. Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because kidney disease, or is under treatment for kidney disease, including receiving dialysis
  • Chronic liver disease as defined by your doctor. (e.g., cirrhosis, chronic hepatitis) Patient has been told to avoid or reduce the dose of medications because liver disease or is under treatment for liver disease.
  • Compromised immune system (immunosuppression) (e.g., seeing a doctor for cancer and treatment such as chemotherapy or radiation, received an organ or bone marrow transplant, taking high doses of corticosteroids or other immunosuppressant medications, HIV or AIDS)
  • Current or recent pregnancy in the last two weeks
  • Endocrine disorders (e.g., diabetes mellitus)
  • Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders)
  • Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease)
  • Lung disease including asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (chronic bronchitis or emphysema) or other chronic conditions associated with impaired lung function or that require home oxygen
  • Neurological and neurologic and neurodevelopment conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability, moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury].

HFA鈥檚 medical advisors tell us that bleeding disorders, in and of themselves, do not put people at higher riskbut having certain comorbidities could bring an individual within the CDC鈥檚 category of 鈥渂lood disorders at increased risk.鈥 Those comorbidities include HIV (listed separately on the CDC list) and inhibitor patients who have taken immunosuppressants like Rituximab or Cellcept within the last 12 months. Otherwise, hemophilia and other bleeding disorder patients would not fall within the category of increased risk. A letter from NHF鈥檚 President and CEO, Dr. Valentino also expresses this view.

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