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      Management of Infantile Hemangiomas: Current Trends

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          Infantile hemangiomas (IH) are common vascular tumours. IH have a characteristic natural course. They proliferate rapidly during the early infantile period followed by a period of gradual regression over several years. Most of the uncomplicated IH undergo spontaneous involution, with a small proportion of cases requiring intervention. These are children with IH in life-threatening locations, local complications like haemorrhage, ulceration and necrosis and functional or cosmetic disfigurements. Systemic corticosteroids have been the first line of treatment for many years. Recently, non-selective beta-blockers, such as oral propranalol and topical timolol, have emerged as promising and safer therapies. Other treatment options include interferon α and vincristine which are reserved for life-threatening haemangiomas that are unresponsive to conventional therapy. This review mainly focuses on the current trends and evidence-based approach in the management of IH.

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          Most cited references 68

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          Propranolol for severe hemangiomas of infancy.

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            Propranolol for infantile haemangiomas: insights into the molecular mechanisms of action.

             C Storch,  P Hoeger (2010)
            Infantile haemangiomas (IH) are the most common benign tumours of infancy. Although most IH are innocuous and 85-90% regress spontaneously, some may become life- or function-threatening and require immediate treatment. Previous standard therapeutic options include physical measures (laser surgery, cryosurgery) and systemic corticosteroids, in severe cases also vincristine, alpha-interferon or cyclophosphamide, all bearing the risk of serious side-effects. Oral propranolol is a very recent therapeutic option for complicated IH with impressive efficacy and generally good tolerance. The effects of propranolol on IH were discovered by chance, and very little is known about its mechanisms of action in IH. Here we present a summary of current knowledge of how propranolol interferes with endothelial cells, vascular tone, angiogenesis and apoptosis. Early, intermediate and long-term effects of propranolol on IH can be attributed to three different pharmacological targets. Early effects (brightening of the haemangioma surface within 1-3 days after start of therapy) are attributable to vasoconstriction due to decreased release of nitric oxide. Intermediate effects are due to the blocking of proangiogenic signals (vascular endothelial growth factor, basic fibroblast growth factor, matrix metalloproteinase 2/9) and result in growth arrest. Long-term effects of propranolol are characterized by induction of apoptosis in proliferating endothelial cells, and result in tumour regression.
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              Growth characteristics of infantile hemangiomas: implications for management.

              Infantile hemangiomas often are inapparent at birth and have a period of rapid growth during early infancy followed by gradual involution. More precise information on growth could help predict short-term outcomes and make decisions about when referral or intervention, if needed, should be initiated. The objective of this study was to describe growth characteristics of infantile hemangioma and compare growth with infantile hemangioma referral patterns. A prospective cohort study involving 7 tertiary care pediatric dermatology practices was conducted. Growth data were available for a subset of 526 infantile hemangiomas in 433 patients from a cohort study of 1096 children. Inclusion criteria were age younger than 18 months at time of enrollment and presence of at least 1 infantile hemangioma. Growth stage and rate were compared with clinical characteristics and timing of referrals. Eighty percent of hemangioma size was reached during the early proliferative stage at a mean age of 3 months. Differences in growth between hemangioma subtypes included that deep hemangiomas tend to grow later and longer than superficial hemangiomas and that segmental hemangiomas tended to exhibit more continued growth after 3 months of age. The mean age of first visit was 5 months. Factors that predicted need for follow-up included ongoing proliferation, larger size, deep component, and segmental and indeterminate morphologic subtypes. Most infantile hemangioma growth occurs before 5 months, yet 5 months was also the mean age at first visit to a specialist. Recognition of growth characteristics and factors that predict the need for follow-up could help aid in clinical decision-making. The first few weeks to months of life are a critical time in hemangioma growth. Infants with hemangiomas need close observation during this period, and those who need specialty care should be referred and seen as early as possible within this critical growth period.

                Author and article information

                Department of Dermatology and Venereology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Dr. Gomathy Sethuraman, Department of Dermatology, All India Institute of Medical sciences, New Delhi - 110 029, India. E-mail: kgsethu@ / aiimsgsr@
                J Cutan Aesthet Surg
                J Cutan Aesthet Surg
                Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                Apr-Jun 2014
                : 7
                : 2
                : 75-85
                4134656 JCAS-7-75 10.4103/0974-2077.138324
                Copyright: © Journal of Cutaneous and Aesthetic Surgery

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                CME Article


                pulsed dye laser, timolol, propranolol, steroids, infantile hemangioma


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