Clinical characteristics and management of vascular anomalies: findings of a multidisciplinary vascular anomalies clinic

Arch Dermatol. 2004 Aug;140(8):979-83. doi: 10.1001/archderm.140.8.979.


Objective: To describe the scope of the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), Vascular Anomalies Clinic (VAC), including the types of diagnoses, characteristics, and management of patients seen in the clinic.

Design: Case series.

Setting: Referral, outpatient, multidisciplinary clinic in a university system.

Patients: Consecutive sample of 175 patients seen in the VAC at UCSF from January 2001 to July 2003.

Main outcome measures: Diagnosis before and after clinic visit, symptoms, treatment recommendations, age of onset, age at clinic visit, location of lesion, sex, and type of referring physician.

Results: A total of 96% of patients had cutaneous involvement, 71% of patients had vascular malformations, and 14% had infantile hemangiomas. Fifty-eight percent of patients were referred from outside the UCSF system. Of the patients who had not been previously seen by members of the VAC team or UCSF dermatologists, only 22% had been assigned correct specific diagnoses before coming to the VAC, and 13% had incorrect specific diagnoses before coming to the VAC. Fifty-six percent of vascular malformations were first noted at birth and 17% were noted at later than 10 years of age. Eighty-seven percent of patients were symptomatic from their vascular lesion. Sixty-six percent of patients underwent prior magnetic resonance imaging of their lesion. Further diagnostic workup was recommended in 43% of cases, and treatment recommendations were made in 83% of cases.

Conclusions: Significant confusion still exists regarding the appropriate terminology, diagnosis, and management of vascular anomalies. Multidisciplinary clinics effectively address these complicated and troubling disorders by providing accurate diagnoses, clear treatment recommendations, and counseling from a team of specialists.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemangioma / diagnosis
  • Hemangioma / epidemiology*
  • Hemangioma / etiology
  • Hemangioma / pathology
  • Hemangioma / therapy
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Office Visits*
  • Outpatient Clinics, Hospital / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Care Team*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • San Francisco / epidemiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Skin Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Skin Neoplasms / etiology
  • Skin Neoplasms / pathology
  • Skin Neoplasms / therapy