Infantile hemangiomas: Pathogenesis and review of propranolol use

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Background: Infantile hemangiomas are complex benign vascular tumors that present after birth. Hemangioma lesions have a predictable course of growth, but little is understood about the mechanism behind their development. Infantile hemangiomas are considered proliferative lesions of the endothelial cells. Purpose: To effectively manage infants with infantile hemangiomas, a clear understanding of the pathogenic pathways is important and can assist the healthcare provider with effective treatment. This understanding will facilitate a relationship of support with the families of affected infants. Methods/Search Strategies: EBSCO host and Ovid database search for key words of infantile hemangiomas, propranolol, vascular lesion, and proliferative lesion was utilized. Articles on pathophysiology along with recent research studies were include in the search. Findings/Results: The use of propranolol is a recent development in the treatment of infantile hemangiomas, which has shown a high rate of response in decreasing the size and reducing the potential for life-long complications. Different studies have shown the same success rate with the use of propranolol but with different variables. Implications for Practice: As a healthcare team member, better identification and customized care of these patients can reduce the rare but devastating complications of infantile hemangiomas. Implications for Research: Future research can help identify the most effective dose and course of propranolol administration.

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