Systematic screening in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia: a review

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Abstract

Purpose of review

Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is an autosomal dominant inherited disease characterized by telangiectasia and arteriovenous malformations (AVMs). To date, five genetic types of HHT and one combined juvenile polyposis syndrome and HHT are known. Clinical and genetic screening of patients suspected with HHT is recommended to confirm the diagnosis and to prevent complications associated with HHT. The aim of this article is to give an overview of the evidence and to formulate a recommendation for clinicians concerning screening for HHT.

Recent findings

Complications of HHT such as stroke, brain abscess and intracranial hemorrhage are caused by pulmonary and cerebral AVMs (CAVMs) and can often be prevented by screening and treatment when possible. Screening and treatment of these AVMs will result in an increased life expectancy comparable with that of the general population as opposed to unscreened and untreated HHT patients.

Summary

Screening of HHT patients and their first-degree relatives is recommended to prevent severe complications including stroke, brain abscess and intracranial hemorrhage.

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