A record number of delegates attended the World Federation of Hemophilia’s (WFH) Musculoskeletal (MSK) Congress in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, despite an unexpected change of venue only two months before the Congress. Due to conflict in Cairo, Egypt, the original location of the congress, WFH staff members worked quickly with the Egyptian Hemophilia Society to relocate to Dubai.
Over 300 professionals from various disciplines made the trip to this year’s meeting, which ran from March 30 to April 2.
The Musculoskeletal Congress offered delegates an array of distinguished international speakers including hematologists, psychiatrists, orthopedists and physiotherapists. A greater number of hematologists attended this meeting than ever before; it is hoped that this
will become a trend that will encourage gainful interactions between hematologists and musculoskeletal professionals. Their collaboration will strengthen the fibres of the international hemophilia network and fuel the WFH goal of Treatment for All.
This year’s Congress included the presentation of 26 free papers and 32 posters; a unique feature was the live sessions, which
followed a sequence of assessment, conservative treatment, and surgery for hemophiliac arthropathy over consecutive days.The first morning of the Congress focused on hemophilia with respect to the human life cycle, examining challenges from young adulthood through to old agefor people with hemophilia. The afternoon explored problems with bone and cartilage in people with hemophilia.
The second day started with a robust session on synovitis in hemophilia, featuring eminent speakers such as Dr. Valentino (U.S.A.), Dr. Llinas (Colombia), and Mr.Zourikian (Canada). Following this, there were maiden sessions focusing on musculoskeletal issues in inhibitor patients as well as patients with von Willebrand disease and rare bleeding disorders. These areas are relatively unexplored and delegates realized the
great need for research to be able to meet the musculoskeletal needs of these particular patient groups.
The closing day of the Congress began with a dynamic session on ankle arthropathy and ended with the annual general meeting of the Musculoskeletal Committee. Committee members presented the Pietrogrande Prize, which recognizes a healthcare professional who has contributed significantly to further the mission and goals of the committee, to Dr. Lily Heijnen, a physiatrist from the Netherlands. She is a pillar of the hemophilia community and is known for her work in countries with limited resources. She has been involved with the Musculoskeletal Committee since its inception in 1981. The Henri Horoszowski award, which was established to encourage musculoskeletal specialists to become involved in hemophilia care, was jointly awarded to Dr. Nick Goddard and Monique van Meegeren. Goddard, an orthopedic surgeon from the United Kingdom, presented a free paper on the perioperative clotting factor replacement and infection in total knee arthroplasty. The paper supported the need for prolonged factor replacement following total knee replacement to reduce the incidence of infection. PhD student van Meegeren from the University Medical Centre Utrecht in the Netherlands presented her paper entitled
“Early-onset administration of IL-4 and IL-10 prevents blood-induced cartilage damage in vitro.”
After the scientific talks, the urban pleasures of Dubai set against the background of a peaceful desert were not lost on our delegates.
The social dinner in a beach setting remained a memorable evening for many of the participants. ■