Development of a haemophilia physiotherapy intervention for optimum musculoskeletal health in children


Haemophilia is a disorder affecting one in 10,000 people. It is a condition where the blood does not clot normally, leading to bleeding into muscles and joints. As a result, muscles become weak. Joints become painful and difficult to move. Children are born with it - females carry the disorder and usually males are affected. 

With the help of boys with haemophilia, their parents and physiotherapists, the ' Development of a haemophilia physiotherapy intervention' (DOLPHIN) team developed an exercise programme designed to increase muscle strength. In a feasibility study, it was shown that the exercise programme had no harmful effects, was acceptable to children with haemophilia and that they were willing to participate in a study to answer the question, “does muscle strengthening help improve the long-term health of children with haemophilia?”.

The aim of this next phase (DOLPHIN-ll) involves a randomised controlled trial (RCT) is to determine whether a muscle strengthening exercise programme increases muscle strength and affects participation in games and activities, physical function, frequency of bleeding and quality of life in children with haemophilia.

Partners & Collaborators

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)

East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust (EKHUFT)

Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children NHS Foundation Trust (GOSG)

University of Kent

University College London (UCL)

The Haemophilia Society

Ferhana Hashem (Kent), Tracy Pellatt-Higgins (Kent), Eirini-Christina Saloniki (UCL)

Lead Investigator
David Stephensen (EKHUFT)
Investigating Team
Melanie Bladen (GOSH)
Liz Carroll (The Haemophilia Society)
Ferhana Hashem (Kent)
Tracy Pellatt-Higgins (Kent)
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