Purpose: Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant inherited disorder which may give rise to arteriovenous malformations in lungs and brain. When left untreated, these may cause serious complications. We screened family members of HHT patients for presence of the disease and associated pulmonary or cerebral arteriovenous malformations.
Patients and methods: We investigated 98 family members of HHT patients on an outpatient basis. A stepped screening protocol was used based on prevalence of different manifestations of HHT.
Results: Thirty-six cases of HHT were found in the 98 persons screened. Pulmonary arteriovenous malformations were found in 12 of the 36 patients (33%), and cerebral arteriovenous malformations in 4 (11%). Therapy was recommended in 9 patients with pulmonary arteriovenous malformations and in 2 with cerebral arteriovenous malformations.
Conclusions: Family members of known HHT patients should be encouraged to engage in a screening program, since the prevalence of potentially serious localizations is higher than previously thought.