Sunil Gupta, MD, FACC Premier Heart and Vascular Center, Wesley Chapel and Zephyrhills
Even though they are rare, bleeding disorders do exist and can be problematic for those who have them. What’s more, they can also affect other parts of a person’s body and their overall health and wellbeing.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at what precisely bleeding disorders are and explain how they affect cardiac patients.
What Are Bleeding Disorders?
Bleeding disorders represent a collection of rare disorders, all of which affect blood clotting. And that they bleed more quickly than people without a bleeding disorder.
Bleeding disorders are either acquired or inherited:
- Acquired bleeding disorders are more common, and they typically occur from complications that are a result of medicine or disease.
- Inherited bleeding disorders are extremely rare, and they are always inherited from a parent.
The two most common bleeding disorders are:
- Hemophilia – it can be both acquired and inherited, and it is the most common type of bleeding disorder and the most studied one
- Von Willebrand disease – both inherited and acquired
The typical signs and symptoms of a bleeding disorder are:
- Easy bruising
- Frequent nosebleeds
- Heavy menstrual periods for women
- Excessive bleeding after a cut, surgery, or dental procedure
- Blood in urine and stool
- Bleeding under the skin that manifests in small purple, brown, or red spots
The treatment options for bleeding disorders vary depending on the disorder and its severity. Some disorders are treated with medicine and factor replacement therapy, and some are ignored entirely as they are very mild and do not impact everyday life.
But how do bleeding disorders affect the heart?
Hemophilia and Heart Health
The short answer is, bleeding disorders are not proven to affect the heart. As bleeding disorders are rare, there is not much research on the connection between them and cardiovascular disease. From the research that has been conducted, it’s determined that people with bleeding disorders don’t have a higher risk of cardiovascular disease, and they don’t significantly affect heart health. What’s more, it’s often the case that people with bleeding disorders have lower chances of developing a cardiovascular issue, mostly because they have lower chances of developing a blood clot due to their condition.
However, people with bleeding disorders and especially those with hemophilia can still develop cardiovascular diseases, and they can still have heart attacks. When cardiac patients require surgery, it can become a daunting prospect if they already have hemophilia. As we’ve previously stated, bleeding is more excessive for patients with hemophilia after they have undergone surgery.
That makes operating on someone with hemophilia complex and risky. However, with proper procedures and specific precautions, all cardiac procedures on hemophilia patients can be as successful as those on people without the bleeding disorder. Your doctor will inform you of these precautions and procedures before surgery, but it’s essential to ask any questions you have in advance.
If you want to know more, you can also contact the Premier Heart and Vascular Center as we are here to help.