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Semin Pediatr Surg. 2014 Aug;23(4):186-90. doi: 10.1053/j.sempedsurg.2014.07.006. Epub 2014 Jul 22.

Complex lymphatic anomalies.

Author information

1
Division of Pediatric Hematology/Oncology, Boston Children׳s Hospital, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, 300 Longwood Ave, Boston, Massachusetts 02115. Electronic address: Cameron.trenor@childrens.harvard.edu.
2
Division of Interventional Radiology, Boston Children׳s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts 02115.

Abstract

Complex lymphatic anomalies include several diagnoses with overlapping patterns of clinical symptoms, anatomic location, imaging features, hematologic alterations, and complications. Lymphatic malformations likely arise through anomalous embryogenesis of the lymphatic system. Analysis of clinical, imaging, histologic, and hematologic features is often needed to reach a diagnosis. Aspiration of fluid collections can readily define fluid as chylous or not. The presence of chyle indicates dysfunction at the mesenteric or retroperitoneal level or above the cisterna chyli due to reflux. The imaging patterns of generalized lymphatic anomaly (GLA) and Gorham-Stout disease have been segregated with distinctive bone lesions and peri-osseous features. More aggressive histology (spindled lymphatic endothelial cells), clinical progression, hemorrhage, or moderate hematologic changes should raise suspicion for kaposiform lymphangiomatosis. Biopsy may be needed for diagnosis, though avoidance of rib biopsy is advised to prevent iatrogenic chronic pleural effusion. Lymphangiography can visualize the anatomy and function of the lymphatic system and may identify dysfunction of the thoracic duct in central conducting lymphatic anomalies. Local control and symptom relief are targeted by resection, laser therapy, and sclerotherapy. Emerging data suggest a role for medical therapies for complications of complex lymphatic anomalies. Outcomes include recurrent effusion, infection, pain, fracture, mortality, and rarely, malignancy. Complex lymphatic anomalies present significant diagnostic and therapeutic challenges. Results from a phase 2 study of sirolimus in these and other conditions are expected in 2014. Improved characterization of natural history, predictors of poor outcomes, responses to therapy, and further clinical trials are needed for complex lymphatic anomalies.

KEYWORDS:

Generalized lymphatic anomaly; Gorham–Stout disease; Kaposiform lymphangiomatosis

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