Learn more about bleeding disorders and treatment

What are bleeding disorders?

Most bleeding disorders are inherited. That means they are passed from a parent to a child. Bleeding disorders are a group of conditions that affect the way the blood clots. Clots are sticky plugs of blood components and proteins that form to stop bleeding. 

If your child has a bleeding disorder, blood does not clot, or coagulate, in the right way. This can cause too much bleeding, or too much clotting, which can block the normal blood flow. Bleeding disorders can be mild or more serious. The conditions can cause abnormal or too much bleeding inside and outside the body. 

We treat many different types of bleeding disorders, including:

  • Hemophilia
  • Von Willebrand disease (vWD)
  • Platelet function disorders just list on overview
  • Rare bleeding disorders just list on overview
  • Women with Bleeding Disorders
  • Thrombosis
  • Hypercoagulable Disorders

What is hemophilia?

Hemophilia happens when the body does not make enough clotting factor. The severity or risk of bleeding depends on the level of clotting factor that is present.

There are two kinds of hemophilia:

  • Hemophilia A is Factor 8 deficiency
  • Hemophilia B is Factor 9 deficiency

Hemophilia is an inherited condition. The hemophilia gene is carried by women on one of their X chromosomes. It can be passed to their baby boys.

Severe cases happen when the factor level is less than 1 percent in children with hemophilia A or hemophilia B. These children:

  • Are at risk for bleeding after dental work, surgery, and trauma
  • May have internal or joint bleeding with no trauma, injury or apparent cause

Repeated joint bleeds can lead to other health problems and disabilities, such as:

  • Chronic hemophilia arthropathy (joint disease)
  • Loss of range of motion

Moderate hemophilia is when children have 1 percent to 5 percent of Factor 8 or Factor 9 in their body. These children:

  • Are at risk for bleeding after surgery, dental procedures and trauma
  • May have occasional joint problems
  • Rarely experience spontaneous life threatening bleeds

Mild hemophilia occurs when children have more than 5 percent of Factor 8 or Factor 9 in their body. These children:

  • May go undiagnosed until bleeding occurs after trauma or surgery

What is Von Willebrand disease (vWD)?

Von Willebrand disease (vWD) is the most common hereditary bleeding disorder [link to]. The condition affects girls and boys. Children with von Willebrand disease take longer to stop bleeding because of problems with the von Willebrand Factor (vWF). In most case, the condition comes from low levels of von Willebrand Factor, but in some patients the protein does not work properly. The abnormal gene in von Willebrand disease is located on a chromosome called an autosome, rather than a sex-linked (X) chromosome. This means that both men and women can pass the gene for von Willebrand disease to their children. 

There are three types of von Willebrand disease.

  • Type I is characterized by abnormally low levels of von Willebrand Factor.
  • Type II is caused by irregular von Willebrand Factor that is produced. Children may have plenty of von Willebrand Factor, but it doesn’t work properly.
  • Type III happens when there is a total or near absence of von Willebrand Factor.

Care for girls and women with bleeding disorders

Our adolescent gynecologist and hematologists work collaboratively to provide care for teenagers and young women with excessive menstrual bleeding. We offer care and treatment at a quarterly multidisciplinary clinic that is the only program of its kind in the state of Arkansas. 

What is Thrombosis?

Blood clotting is a normal, complex process that prevents excessive bleeding when a blood vessel is injured. Sometimes, clots form inside a blood vessel when they shouldn’t. Clots can occur in arteries and veins. Arteries are the blood vessels that carry blood away from the heart, to the legs and the arms, the abdomen and the brain. Veins are the blood vessels that carry blood back to the heart from the extremities, the abdomen and the brain. Blood clots that form in veins are different from clots that occur in arteries.

Clots in arteries can lead to:

  • Stroke
  • Transient ischemic attack (TIA)
  • Mini-stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Peripheral arterial clot
  • Gangrene

Clots in veins can cause:

  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
  • Pulmonary embolism (PE)

Deep vein thrombosis occurs most commonly in the leg but can happen anywhere in the body, such as the veins in the arm, abdomen, and pelvis or around the brain. Pulmonary embolism is a potentially life-threatening complication of deep vein thrombosis. 

A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood clot breaks off from a DVT and travels through the blood stream to the lung. Occasionally, a pulmonary embolism can form in the lung itself, without any signs of a DVT anywhere else in the body.

What are Hypercoagulable conditions?

Hypercoagulable conditions are disorders where the blood is more likely to cause blood clots in the blood vessels. Thrombophilia is a medical term we use to describe the blood’s increased tendency to clot. There are two types of thrombophilia:

  • Inherited thrombophilia is when one or both parents pass the condition to a child.
  • Acquired thrombophilia is abnormal clotting related to a specific cause such as immobility or infection.

The most important thing to remember is that even though your child may be at higher risk of developing a blood clot, it does not mean that a clot will ever develop in his or her lifetime.

Genetic counseling for hypercoagulable conditions

We provide family and genetic counseling and testing for all types of hypercoagulable disorders to help you better understand your child’s condition and to determine the likelihood of passing the disorder to your children.