Paediatrics: how to manage infantile haemangioma

Jason HS Kim, Joseph M Lam


Infantile haemangiomas (IHs) are relatively common benign vascular tumours found in the paediatric population. They have varying sizes and involve different depths in the skin leading to various colours, shapes and textures. Although considered harmless in most cases, they may lead to life-threatening complications or cause permanent disfigurations and organ dysfunction. For problematic IHs, the treatment options include oral and topical beta-blockers, systemic corticosteroids, laser treatment, and surgery. In this narrative review, the treatment options for problematic IH are compared and delivered concisely to facilitate the clinical decisions from practitioners, including those in primary care settings. Oral propranolol is currently considered the first-line intervention for problematic IHs. For superficial lesions, there is robust evidence for the use of topical timolol maleate. Systemic corticosteroids are sometimes used in specific situations such as resistance or contraindications to beta-blockers. Surgical excision can be considered in cases requiring urgent intervention such as airway obstruction; this can be done alongside laser therapies for the removal of residual tissue or when reconstructing areas of deformity. The combination of multiple treatment modalities may lead to a more rapid clinical response.

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Accepted: ; Published: .


Kim JHS, Lam JM. Paediatrics: how to manage infantile haemangioma. Drugs in Context 2021; 10: 2020-12-6. DOI: 10.7573/dic.2020-12-6

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