Treatment of Symptomatic Focal Hepatic Hemangioma with Propranolol in Neonates: Is It Efficient?

Pediatr Gastroenterol Hepatol Nutr. 2023 Jan;26(1):70-77. doi: 10.5223/pghn.2023.26.1.70. Epub 2023 Jan 10.


Hepatic hemangiomas (HH) - classified into congenital hepatic hemangiomas (CHH) or infantile hepatic hemangiomas (IHH) - are benign vascular tumors that are mainly asymptomatic, but may cause clinical problems that require treatment. While focal, multifocal, and diffuse IHH are responsive to propranolol treatment, CHH is mainly focal and thought to be resistant to treatment with propranolol. The clinical and imaging distinctions between CHH and IHH in cases of focal lesions can be challenging, while histopathological distinction is mostly lacking in the clinical setting. We report 4 neonatal symptomatic cases of focal HH treated with propranolol, with partial or complete resolution of the tumor, and the positive hemodynamic effect of propranolol in one case. We believe that although clear differentiation cannot be achieved between CHH and IHH without histopathological examination in cases of focal HH in neonates, propranolol treatment should be attempted in symptomatic cases since its benefits outweigh the possible small risk of side effects of propranolol.

Keywords: Congenital hemangioma; Hemangioma; Infantile hemangioma; Liver; Newborn; Propranolol.