Limited utility of repeated vital sign monitoring during initiation of oral propranolol for complicated infantile hemangioma

J Am Acad Dermatol. 2021 Aug;85(2):345-352. doi: 10.1016/j.jaad.2020.04.013. Epub 2020 Apr 11.


Background: Initial propranolol recommendations for infantile hemangioma published in 2013 were intended as provisional best practices to be updated as evidence-based data emerged.

Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was performed to evaluate utility of prolonged monitoring after first propranolol dose and escalation(s). Inclusion criteria included diagnosis of hemangioma requiring propranolol of greater than or equal to 0.3 mg/kg per dose, younger than 2 years, and heart rate monitoring for greater than or equal to 1 hour. Data collected included demographics, dose, vital signs, and adverse events.

Results: A total of 783 subjects met inclusion criteria; median age at initiation was 112 days. None of the 1148 episodes of prolonged monitoring warranted immediate intervention or drug discontinuation. No symptomatic bradycardia or hypotension occurred during monitoring. Mean heart rate change from baseline to 1 hour was -8.19/min (±15.54/min) and baseline to 2 hours was -9.24/min (±15.84/min). Three preterm subjects had dose adjustments because of prescriber concerns about asymptomatic vital sign changes. No significant difference existed in pretreatment heart rate or in heart rate change between individuals with later adverse events during treatment and those without.

Conclusion: Prolonged monitoring for initiation and escalation of oral propranolol rarely changed management and did not predict future adverse events. Few serious adverse events occurred during therapy; none were cardiovascular.

Keywords: heart rate; infantile hemangioma; monitoring; pediatric dermatology; propranolol.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Female
  • Hemangioma, Capillary / drug therapy*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Monitoring, Physiologic / methods*
  • Propranolol / administration & dosage*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Vital Signs*


  • Propranolol