UAE: Toddler suffers bleeding in brain due to rare genetic disorder, doctors come to rescue

Timely intervention by healthcare professionals avoided the need for a major neurosurgical operation


A Staff Reporter

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Published: Mon 18 Apr 2022, 6:36 PM

Two-year-old Saif suffers from a rare genetic bleeding disorder, but he is now expected to lead a normal life thanks to new therapy and medical management.

Doctors at Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Khalifa Medical City (SKMC) have treated Saif for Haemophilia A. The timely intervention by doctors avoided the need for a major neurosurgical operation.

Haemophilia A, an inherited bleeding disorder affecting mainly males, is characterised by low levels of Factor VIII – a protein required for blood to clot.

People with this disorder tend to bleed more than normal after an injury or while undergoing a dental procedure or surgery, or mostly spontaneous bleeding.

This phenomenon is particularly challenging for children living with the disorder as it puts significant limitations on their daily life, with the potential for a normal injury to become life-threatening.

In little Saif's case, he had bleeding in the brain after a fall while playing at home.

While currently, there is no definitive cure, proper management and timely treatment can allow youngsters with haemophilia A to enjoy life just like any other healthy child.

Saif was brought to SKMC – part of Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha) – with extensive cerebellar and subdural hematoma (bleeding in the brain) and was known to have haemophilia A.

Dr Naser Alzein, chief of paediatric haematology/oncology, SKMC, said, "Our plan was to start Saif on a proper recombinant Factor VIII therapy in a different way to overcome difficulties to achieve our target of normal haemostasis to control the bleeding with no need of surgical intervention. This was followed by the new modality of therapy, Emicizumab, a humanised bispecific antibody for treating haemophilia A."

Dr Alzein noted that Saif is now expected to lead a normal life and perform regular activities like other children his age.

"We are extremely happy with Saif's progress post-treatment and that we could protect him from having to undergo major surgery. After being discharged from SKMC, our team will closely monitor him at the Paediatric Haematology Clinic. I am proud to say that our department is well-equipped with the right staff and medical resources to deal with complex haematology cases."

Recollecting the ordeal of Saif's bleeding, his mother said, "It was like any other day. Saif was running around the house playing with his friends when – suddenly – he fell. At the time, he was completely okay.


"However, about 10 days later, he started to complain of a headache. It wasn't just a simple headache as it would have been for many children. Due to my son's condition, the fall had caused devastating implications and caused bleeding in the brain.

"It was only due to the precise and swift actions of the medical team at SKMC, that Saif is doing well today without undergoing surgery."

Thanking the medical team for their timely intervention, she added, "We are extremely grateful to the entire team, especially Dr Naser, for providing Saif with effective treatment and offering us hope and moral support throughout this ordeal. To see my son happy and able to enjoy life to the fullest, what more could a parent ask for?"

Haemophilia A occurs in every 1 in 5,000 to 10,000 males and April 17 is celebrated ad World Haemophilia Day.

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