Information for Patients

Welcome to the Bleeding Disorders Program (BDP) Patient, Families, and Visitors site. Here you will find information about the care and treatment of hereditary bleeding disorders.

This section will also link you to the patient volunteer organization, Hemophilia Ontario.


Hemophilia (heem-o-FILL-ee-ah) is a rare, inherited condition in which a person lacks a specific blood clotting protein, causing a delay in clotting when bleeding occurs. Hemophilia A is a deficiency in factor VIII and Hemophilia B is a deficiency in factor IX. People with hemophilia do not bleed faster, they bleed for a longer period of time. An individual with hemophilia does not “grow out” of this condition, nor, at this time is there a cure. The severity of hemophilia varies among individuals.

The person with mild hemophilia will bleed only when injured or as a result of surgery or dental extraction. The severely affected individual bleeds as a result of minor injury, or for no apparent reason. Most problems occur because of bleeding into tissues and joints where it may not be detected before pain and swelling are evident. Although the person with hemophilia is born with normal joints, repeated bleeds cause joint deterioration and early crippling.

Effective treatment is provided through either preventative transfusion of factor concentrate into the blood stream, or by infusing factor concentrate promptly when bleeding occurs. These recombinant factor concentrates, that replace the missing blood clotting proteins, are provided by the Canadian Blood Services (CBS) and are distributed by the Bleeding Disorders Program. The introduction of routine preventative therapy for severely affected children, together with the introduction of recombinant factor concentrates, have led to healthy joints and a normal life expectancy.

Von Willebrand Disease

Von Willebrand Disease (VWD) is the most common hereditary blood clotting disorder that occurs in up to two percent of the population. It affects men and women equally and is considered to generally be a mild condition. Individuals with VWD either do not produce enough of one of the many proteins needed to produce a clot, von Willebrand factor, or the von Willebrand factor does not function properly.