History of Hemophilia

In the whole history of hemophilia, the Jews were first to recognize it. They enacted a law that if a women had two sons that died from circumcision her third son would not be required to be circumcised. This shows that they recognized that women carried the hemophilia gene and passed it down to their sons.

The hemophilia blood disorder became known as the royal disease because Queen Victoria was a carrier and passed the carrier status down to many of her daughters. In those days the royal families of many of the nations of Europe would marry into each others families.

This caused several generations of royalty to become affected by the hemophilia gene. The most famous being Alexei son of Alexandra and Nicholas, Czar of Russia. Nicholas and Alexandra were pre-occupied by the health problems of their son at a time when Russia was in turmoil.

The monk Rasputin gained great influence in the Russian court, partly because he was the only one able to help the young Tsarevich. He used hypnosis to relieve Alexei's pain. The use of hypnosis not only relieved pain, but may have also helped slow or stop the boy's hemorrhages. The illness of the heir to the Tsar's throne, the strain it placed on the Royal family, and the power wielded by the mad monk Rasputin were all factors leading to the Russian Revolution of 1917.

Treatment History of Hemophilia

Early 1900s - Fresh blood could be transfused after a sufficient amount was lost. Usually family members would rally to the aid of the child with hemophilia and donate blood on site. Blood storage was not practible at that time. Life expectancy for people with hemophilia was 13 years although some lived longer.

1950s - Plasma became available although it did not contain enough of the needed factor.

1965 - Cryoprecipitate “Cryo” improves treatment a bit. Basically “Cryo” was what settled to the bottom of a bag of plasma. It contained more of the needed factor.It was then frozen and infused, a long hospital procedure.

1970s - Factor concentrates become available.

1980s - Factor concentrates infect 80% of the people with hemophilia in the U.S with HIV, many have since passed away.

1985 - First viral inactivated factor products become available.

1992 - First non plasma derived factor becomes available using recombinant dna technology.

1995 - “Prophy” becomes the standard of treatment in the U.S. Instead of waiting for prolonged bleeding to occur, factor is taken regularly to prevent bleeding and increase quality of life. Click here to return to the Homepage from "History of Hemophilia"