Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: diagnosis and management from the hematologist's perspective

Haematologica. 2018 Sep;103(9):1433-1443. doi: 10.3324/haematol.2018.193003. Epub 2018 May 24.


Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT), also known as Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome, is an autosomal dominant disorder that causes abnormal blood vessel formation. The diagnosis of hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia is clinical, based on the Curaçao criteria. Genetic mutations that have been identified include ENG, ACVRL1/ALK1, and MADH4/SMAD4, among others. Patients with HHT may have telangiectasias and arteriovenous malformations in various organs and suffer from many complications including bleeding, anemia, iron deficiency, and high-output heart failure. Families with the same mutation exhibit considerable phenotypic variation. Optimal treatment is best delivered via a multidisciplinary approach with appropriate diagnosis, screening and local and/or systemic management of lesions. Anti-angiogenic agents such as bevacizumab have emerged as a promising systemic therapy in reducing bleeding complications but are not curative. Other pharmacological agents include iron supplementation, antifibrinolytics and hormonal treatment. This review discusses the biology of HHT, management issues that face the practising hematologist, and considerations of future directions in HHT treatment.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomarkers
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Combined Modality Therapy
  • Disease Management
  • Disease Susceptibility
  • Genetic Association Studies
  • Humans
  • Mutation
  • Phenotype
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / diagnosis*
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / epidemiology
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / etiology
  • Telangiectasia, Hereditary Hemorrhagic / therapy*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Biomarkers