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    Girls more likely to develop hemangiomas

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    Rochester, Minn. — A 40-year study of Minnesota children suggests that girls are three times more likely to have infantile hemangiomas than boys.

    In the first population-based U.S. study of infantile hemangiomas, researchers with the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine analyzed the medical records of 43 children under age 19 who were residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, between Jan. 1, 1965, and Dec. 31, 2004, and who were diagnosed as having a periocular infantile hemangioma, Medscape reports.

    Of those patients, 30 (70 percent) were girls, and 37 of the tumors were on the upper eyelid. The researchers did not observe a strong genetic component in this population. Only being female was confirmed as a risk factor.

    Premature birth occurred in five cases (12 percent), maternal infertility affected nine children (21 percent) and amniocentesis was performed in three cases (7 percent). Two patients — both of whom had secondary hemangiomas in addition to the periocular lesion — had a family history of vascular malformations.

    In this study, primary care physicians diagnosed most cases, but less than half were referred to ophthalmologists for management, the ramifications of which include unnecessary adverse visual outcomes, the researchers wrote.

    Limitations of the study included its retrospective design and the possibility that some hemangiomas in the population went undetected. In addition, generalizability is limited to demographics of Olmsted County, Minnesota, and some medical records were incomplete.

    The study appears in the July issue of Archives of Ophthalmology.

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    Bill Gillette
    Bill Gillette is a freelance writer based in Richmond Heights, Ohio.

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