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    Close attention required for infantile hemangiomas

    Early treatment may minimize complications

    Caption: Focal IH in 3-month-old female before and after 8 months' treatment with oral propranolol

    One evolving and under-researched area of dermatology includes infantile hemangiomas (IH), according to Dawn Marie Davis, M.D., associate professor, Departments of Dermatology and Pediatrics, and section head, Pediatric Dermatology, at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

    Dawn Marie Davis, M.D.The first publication regarding oral propranolol for IH1 came about when physicians used it to treat cardiac abnormalities in patients with IH, according to Dr. Davis. “The hemangiomas shrunk right before their eyes," she says.

    READ: Top five treatment mainstays: Ulcerated pediatric hemangiomas

    "These patients probably had posterior fossa malformation, hemangioma, arterial, cardiac and eye abnormalities (PHACES) syndrome,” Dr. Davis explains. She sees two to three patients monthly with PHACES and estimates that 5% or fewer of infantile hemangiomas present high risk of functional or other (often delayed) complications.

    "There may be posterior brain anomalies, heart anomalies or eye and ear anomalies. Infants are too young to developmentally manifest symptoms, and they can't articulate them. So children can be up to a couple years old before they are otherwise detected," she says.

    NEXT: Detecting complications

    John Jesitus
    John Jesitus is a medical writer based in Westminster, CO.

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