Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia: Arteriovenous Malformations in Children

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Abstract

Objective

To evaluate the clinical features in a large cohort of pediatric patients with genetically confirmed hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) and to identify possible predictors of arteriovenous malformation (AVM) onset or clinical significance.

Study design

Prospective cross-sectional survey of all children subjected to screening for AVMs in the multidisciplinary HHT center. All patients proved to be carriers of endoglin mutations or activin A receptor type-II-like kinase 1 mutations, defined as HHT1 and HHT2, respectively. A full clinical-radiological protocol for AVM detection was adopted, independent from presence or absence of AVM-related symptoms.

Results

Forty-four children (mean age, 10.3 years; range, 1-18) were subjected to a comprehensive clinical-radiologic evaluation. This investigation disclosed cerebrovascular malformations in 7 of 44 cases, pulmonary AVMs in 20 of 44 cases, and liver AVMs in 23 of 44 cases. Large visceral AVMs were found in 12 of 44 children and were significantly more frequent in patients with HHT1. Only large AVMs were associated with symptoms and complications.

Conclusions

Children with HHT have a high prevalence of AVMs; therefore, an appropriate clinical and radiological screening protocol is advisable. Large AVMs can be associated with complications in childhood, whereas small AVMs probably have no clinical risk.

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