REVIEW ARTICLE| Volume 104, ISSUE 3, P475-489, March 2023

The Efficacy of Physical Therapy Modalities in Patients With Hemophilia: A Systematic Review of Randomized Controlled Trials With Meta-analysis



      To evaluate the efficacy of different physical therapy interventions that could validate decisions taken by health care providers in the field of rehabilitation of patients with hemophilia according to the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF), including body functions and structures, activity, and participation.

      Data Sources

      Seven databases—PubMed, Cochrane Library, Scopus, Web of Science, Physiotherapy Evidence Database, Google Scholar, and—were systematically searched for randomized controlled trials evaluating any physical therapy modality to manage hemophilia.

      Study Selection

      After abstract and full-text filtration, a methodological quality assessment was performed using the Physiotherapy Evidence Database scale for the studies that met the eligibility criteria.

      Data Extraction

      Relevant data were extracted from eligible studies and outcomes were categorized according to the ICF.

      Data Synthesis

      Using Review Manager and Microsoft Excel, a quantitative analysis using standardized mean differences with the 95% confidence interval was completed. Statistical heterogeneity between studies was explored using the I2 test. A fixed effect model was applied to all data analyses. If heterogeneity was statistically significant, the Der Simonian and Laird random effects models were used instead.


      35 randomized controlled trials with 1216 participants were included in this systematic review; 13 of them dealt with pediatric patients. Most of the studies were of good quality; 12 studies were of low quality. Meta-analysis showed a significant difference in favor of manual therapy, laser, and therapeutic exercises on selected outcomes of body function and structure, activity, and participation categories of the ICF model.


      This systematic review recommends using manual therapy and therapeutic exercise modalities to improve join health status in combination with educational sessions to improve the quality of life of patients with hemophilic arthropathy. For pediatric patients with hemophilic arthropathy, using laser therapy is promising for improving functional capacity.


      List of abbreviations:

      6MWT (6-minute walk test), CI (confidence interval), HJHS (Haemophilia Joint Health Score), ICF (International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health), PEDro (Physiotherapy Evidence Database), QoL (quality of life), RCT (randomized controlled trial), SMD (standardized mean difference), VAS (visual analog scale)
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