What is a hemangioendothelioma?

A hemangioendothelioma is a condition of the blood vessels that can occur in the bones, skin, liver, lymph nodes, lungs, or soft tissues of the body. It’s common for hemangioendotheliomas to grow quite slowly and resolve on their own. Some of these can recur and be destructive to the body.

Rarely, these growths indicate the presence of Kasabach-Merritt syndrome. When this is the case, they are called Kaposiform hemangioendotheliomas.

What are the symptoms of hemangioendothelioma?

Often hemangioendothelioma is present at birth or develops in the first few months of life. A growth may be visible and may bleed. These masses are most commonly on the trunk of the body. The growth may damage nearby bones and may cause extremely low platelet counts (platelets are disc-shaped structures in the blood that help with blood clotting.)

How are hemangioendotheliomas diagnosed?

Since the type of hemangioendothelioma will determine the treatment plan, a number of tests are used for diagnosis. A full physical exam and blood tests are often the first step. Imaging like angiography, which uses an injectable dye and X-rays; computed tomography (CT) scan, which produces a three dimensional view of the scanned area; and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) which uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create detailed organ and tissue mapping. In some cases, a biopsy of the tumor may be needed.

How are hemangioendotheliomas treated?

A child with a hemangioendothelioma must be monitored very closely because low platelet counts can lead to uncontrolled bleeding. Medications and surgery may help reduce the tumor size and potential complications.

About treatment for hemangioendotheliomas at Children’s

Hemangioendothelioma is commonly treated through Children’s Vascular Anomalies Center, which is located on our Minneapolis campus. By coordinating experts from several pediatric disciplines into a single visit, families experience a new level of convenience in an environment focused exclusively on pediatrics. Every child is assigned a pediatric nurse case manager who coordinates all treatment and communication between care providers and the family.

Contact Us

For consultation, referral, or an appointment, call the Vascular Anomalies Center at 612-813-7100.