by Alpha-Umaru Barrie, member of EAHAD’s Nurses’ Committee
The annual European Association of Haemophilia and Allied Disorders (EAHAD) 2016 congress was hosted in the Swedish city of Malmö. It was held in the beautiful settings of the Clarion Hotel and attracted over 1650 delegates, 10% of whom were nurses from all over the world. The format was a three-day conference with extensive lectures, pharmaceutical symposia, and a poster exhibition that covered an extensive range of bleeding disorder science and practice.
The meeting commenced with the multidisciplinary education session looking at two cases from the perspectives of the physician, nurse, physiotherapist, and psychologist. The input from each of these healthcare professionals provided a much broader and more comprehensive picture of patient care and a recognition of the contributions by nurses, physiotherapists, and psychosocial professionals in the management of haemophilia and allied bleeding disorders. It also emphasized that the whole multidisciplinary team approach is an essential element in the management of these chronic and lifelong conditions.
Over the next three days, distinguished and eminent speakers in the field of haemophilia and allied disorders, from all around the globe presented exciting sessions. The speakers presented on a spectrum of topics ranging from the advanced sciences such as mutation screening, T-cell tolerance to FVIII, and bone-marrow stem-cell therapy in mice models to the use of extended half-life products and advocating switching to chromogenic assays in the era of new drugs. The quality of the speakers was high and left the audience with some lessons that can be taken home.
The daily sessions were punctuated by symposia sessions from the different pharmaceutical companies that manufacture bleeding disorder products and by abstracts poster viewings. The posters displayed showed either a research study or an innovation in one or more areas of haemophilia care. One example was the use of COX-2 inhibitors in pain management in the aging population with haemophilia, with associated blood pressure monitoring. This was very interesting and provided some great ideas on how nurses might be able to advance in their own practice.
For the second year running, a networking lunch was organised by the EAHAD Nurses Committee. The aim was to allow nurses and other multidisciplinary care professionals to share their work and provide a forum for both the Nurses Committee and the newly formed EAHAD Physiotherapists Committee to disseminate information on their activities and get in contact with other nurses and allied health professionals across Europe. Despite the acoustics, the meeting was very warmly welcomed and was a great chance to meet new colleagues and old friends.
A particularly engaging and anticipated highlight of EAHAD 2016 was the final session of the meeting chaired by Professors Jan Astermark, Philippe de Moerloose, and Cedric Hermans, addressing one of the complications of haemophilia treatment in PUPs, inhibitors. Results from the randomized SIPPET study were presented by Professor Flora Peyvandi and some much-valued guidance on how to interpret them was given. After extensive deliberation one can assume that the debate on the risk of inhibitor development when using plasma-derived versus recombinant clotting factor VIII is far from closed. This suggests that in the coming years the tale of ‘if two ride on a horse, one must ride behind’ will continue. Bring on EAHAD 2017.
Delegates in this year’s conference enjoyed a varied programme that stimulated debate on a range of clinical topics. There were also great opportunities to network with colleagues from around the world. On the whole, exciting times ahead in the care of haemophilia and allied disorders and we look forward to next year’s conference. As the French say, “Bienvenue à Paris” for EAHAD 2017.