Postnatal treatment and evolution patterns of giant fetal hepatic hemangioma: a case series of 29 patients

BMC Pediatr. 2024 Jan 3;24(1):8. doi: 10.1186/s12887-023-04476-2.


Objectives: To explore the clinical characteristics, postnatal treatment and prognosis of giant fetal hepatic hemangioma (GFHH).

Method: Retrospective analysis was performed on children with giant fetal hepatic hemangioma (maximum tumor diameter > 40 mm) diagnosed by prenatal ultrasound and MRI from December 2016 to December 2020. These patients were observed and treated at the Children's Hospital of Fudan University after birth. The clinical data were collected to analyze the clinical characteristics, treatment, and prognosis of GFHH using independent sample t tests or Fisher's exact tests.

Results: Twenty-nine patients who were detected by routine ultrasound in the second and third trimester of pregnancy with giant fetal hepatic hemangiomas were included. The first prenatal ultrasound diagnosis of gestational age was 34.0 ± 4.3 weeks, ranging from 22 to 39 weeks. Of the patients, 28 had focal GFHHs and 1 had multifocal GFHHs. Surgery was performed, and the diagnosis was confirmed histopathologically in two patients. There were 8 cases with echocardiography-based evidence of pulmonary hypertension, 11 cases had a cardiothoracic ratio > 0.6, and 4 cases had hepatic arteriovenous fistula (AVF). The median follow-up time was 37 months (range: 14-70 months). During the follow-up, 12 patients received medical treatment with propranolol as the first-line therapy. The treatment group had a higher ratio of cardiothoracic ratio > 0.6 (P = 0.022) and lower albumin levels (P = 0.018). Four (14.8%) lesions showed postnatal growth before involuting. Complete response was observed in 13 (13/29) patients, and partial response was observed in 16 (16/29) patients.

Conclusions: Fetal giant hepatic hemangioma is mainly localized, and its clinical outcome conforms to RICH (rapidly involuting) and PICH (partially involuting), but some fetal giant hepatic hemangiomas will continue to grow after birth and then gradually decrease. For uncomplicated giant fetal hepatic hemangioma, postnatal follow-up is the main concern, while those with complications require aggressive medical treatment. Propranolol may have no effect on the volume change of GFHH.

Keywords: Congenital hepatic hemangioma; Prenatal diagnosis; Ultrasound.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Female
  • Hemangioma* / diagnostic imaging
  • Hemangioma* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases*
  • Liver Neoplasms* / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms* / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pregnancy
  • Propranolol / therapeutic use
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Propranolol