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Eur J Pediatr. 2011 Apr;170(4):493-501. doi: 10.1007/s00431-010-1324-2. Epub 2010 Oct 9.

Efficacy and safety of propranolol as first-line treatment for infantile hemangiomas.

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Division of Plastic Surgery, University Children's Hospital Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.


Beta-blockers are a highly promising treatment modality for complicated infantile hemangiomas (IH). However, data on propranolol as first-line treatment, objective outcome measures and impact on hemodynamics in young infants is limited. We retrospectively evaluated a homogenous group of infants with proliferating complicated IH treated with propranolol (2 mg/kg/day). Outcome was assessed by blinded evaluation of clinical photographs by visual analogue scale (VAS), ultrasound examination and ophthalmological review (if appropriate). Tolerance and hemodynamic variables were recorded over time, including a 2-day in-patient observation at the initiation of therapy. Twenty-five infants (median age 3.6 (1.5-9.1) months) were included in the study. The median follow-up-time was 14 (9-20) months and 14 patients completed treatment at a median age of 14.3 (11.4-22.1) months, after a duration of 10.5 (7.5-16) months. In all patients, there was significant fading of colour (with a VAS of -9 (-6 to -9) after 7 months) and significant decrease in size of the IH (with a VAS of -8 (-3 to -10) after 7 months). Median thickness of the lesions assessed by ultrasound at baseline and after 1 month was 14 (7-28) mm and 10 (5-23) mm, respectively (p < 0.01). In children with periocular involvement, astigmatism and amblyopia resolved rapidly within 8 weeks. The overall tolerance of propranolol was good, and no relevant hemodynamic changes were noted.


Our report supports the excellent effect and good tolerance of this novel therapy, and we propose the use of propranolol as first-line treatment for IH.

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