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Efficacy of propranolol treatment in infantile hepatic haemangioma.

AIM: The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy of propranolol treatment in multifocal and diffuse infantile hepatic haemangioma (IHH).

METHODS: A retrospective study of symptomatic or potentially symptomatic IHH was performed in our hospital between 2011 and 2016.

RESULTS: Thirteen patients were identified: 2 patients had diffuse lesions, and 11 patients had multifocal lesions, including 2 patients who had combined lesions that shared features of both multifocal and diffuse lesion patterns. Eleven (84.6%) patients had cutaneous infantile haemangioma. Hepatomegaly was the predominant clinical presentation. Hypothyroidism was identified in three patients, including one patient who had documented congestive heart failure (CHF). The median age at diagnosis and the median duration of treatment were 2.0 months (range 1.2-26.0) and 24.0 months (range 4.0-30.0). The median duration of follow-up was 30.0 months (range 3.0-48.0). For patients with hypothyroidism, the thyroid hormone level was normal after 4 weeks of propranolol and levothyroxine treatment. All but one patient responded well to propranolol treatment. The patient who failed to respond to treatment died of CHF and abdominal compartment syndrome induced by hepatomegaly. No significant side effects of propranolol were observed during follow-up.

CONCLUSIONS: Most multifocal and diffuse IHH respond well to propranolol. However, progressive cases may be fatal despite aggressive treatments. Our data suggest that propranolol may be considered the first-line treatment for multifocal and diffuse IHH due to its efficacy.

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