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Acta Paediatr Taiwan. 2003 Jan-Feb;44(1):8-13.

Hepatic hemangioendothelioma in children: analysis of thirteen cases.

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Department of Gastroenterology, Chang Gung Children's Hospital, No. 5, Fu-Hsin Street, Kuei-Shan, Taoyuan, Taiwan.


Hepatic hemangioendothelioma (HE) is a tumor that presents in infancy and toddler. It manifests hepatomegaly, abdominal mass, jaundice, abdominal distention, or high output cardiac failure. We reviewed patients with HE in our hospital in the past 15 years (from July 1986 to June 2001). The diagnosis was made by the histology specimen or various imaging studies. There were thirteen patients (9 males, 4 females) enrolled in our study. Their ages ranged from neonate to 2 years old. The common clinical manifestations included abdominal distention (53%), congestive heart failure (38.5%), abdominal mass (30.8%), jaundice (30.8%), and skin hemangioma (23.1%). Nine patients had serum alanine aminotransferase examination and were abnormal in 2. Anemia was noted in 7 of 13 (53.8%) patients, thrombocytopenia and hyperconsumptive coagulopathy were found in 4 and 5 patients, respectively. Serum alpha-fetoprotein was elevated in 4 of 7 patients. Abdominal ultrasonography (n = 13) showed heterogeneous and hypoechoic lesions in the liver. Computed tomography (n = 11) revealed central hypointensity with peripheral enhancement after contrast of the liver masses. Magnetic resonance imaging studies of the hepatic masses (n = 3) showed decreased signal intensity on T1 images and high signal intensity on T2. Most patients were treated with steroid. Other management included interferon, chemotherapy, embolization and/or surgery. Four patients were managed conservatively. Among the other nine patients, four patients died of sepsis, hepatic failure, disseminated intravascular coagulopathy or tumor rupture with hemorrhagic shock. HE appears to be a histologically benign tumor but may have a poor outcome because of complications. For its management, steroid is a first-line medication. Other methods of treatment were interferon, hepatic artery embolization, chemotherapy and surgery. Long term follow up is needed for the evaluation of treatment response.

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