Cardiac screening in infants with infantile hemangiomas before propranolol treatment

Pediatr Dermatol. 2014 Jul-Aug;31(4):465-70. doi: 10.1111/pde.12344. Epub 2014 May 29.


There is no uniform pretreatment cardiac evaluation for infants treated with oral propranolol, which is now the drug of choice for hemangiomas of infancy requiring systemic medical intervention. The aim of this study was to report and evaluate the findings of pretreatment cardiac evaluation. Data were reviewed for patients evaluated by a single hemangioma specialist and a single pediatric cardiologist prior to initiation of propranolol for infantile hemangioma. Cardiac evaluation included a complete echocardiogram. From July 2009 through January 2013, 239 consecutive patients 12 months of age or younger (median 2.7 months) were screened. No patients had cardiac contraindications to propranolol. However, 50 patients (21%) had an abnormal echocardiogram: 39 atrial septal defects (5 associated with right heart enlargement), 6 ventricular septal defects, 2 patent ductus arteriosus, 1 aortic coarctation, 1 pulmonary valve stenosis, and 1 aberrant subclavian artery. Overall, 69 patients had an audible heart murmur, 44 of which were not associated with pathologic findings on echocardiogram. All patients with a ventricular septal defect and 16 of 39 with an atrial septal defect had a murmur. Two of seven patients with PHACE syndrome had cardiac anomalies. None of the findings precluded the use of propranolol. Assisted reproductive technologies were used in 18% of pregnancies, including in vitro fertilization in 12%. Cardiac contraindications to propranolol treatment are uncommon in patients with infantile hemangioma. However, anatomic abnormalities were more common than reported in the general population. Further study is necessary to determine whether there is a pathogenic relationship between cardiac defects and nonsyndromic infantile hemangioma.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / diagnosis*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / epidemiology
  • Hemangioma / complications*
  • Hemangioma / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mass Screening / methods*
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Propranolol