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Infantile hemangiomas and retinopathy of prematurity: clues to the regulation of vasculogenesis


Retinopathy of prematurity (ROP) and infantile hemangiomas are vascular disorders that may share common mechanisms. This study examined a potential clinical association between these disorders in populations of preterm infants at two hospitals in the USA and Hungary. Clinically collected data from infants with gestational ages less than 32 weeks born between May 1, 2007 and December 31, 2010 seen in the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital or the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Pécs, were abstracted from electronic medical records and entered into a study database. Demographic and clinical variables were examined as potential covariates to the disorders of interest. Data were initially analyzed by center and then combined through meta-analysis. Six hundred eighty-four subjects were studied: 236 from Pécs and 448 from Iowa. There were no significant demographic differences between populations. Univariate analysis on each study population yielded covariates to ROP in each population, including infantile hemangioma, which were entered into a logistic regression model. These models were combined through random-effects meta-analysis and demonstrated a significant relationship between infantile hemangioma and ROP (odds ratio = 1.84, 95 % confidence interval 1.08–3.12). Conclusion: Infantile hemangioma and ROP co-occur in premature infant populations. Further studies are needed to investigate the pathogenesis of both disorders.

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Confidence interval


Infantile hemangioma


Odds ratio


Retinopathy of prematurity


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This research was supported by grant UL1 RR024979 from the National Institutes of Health and grant OTKA 78480 from the Országos Tudományos Kutatási Alapprogramok (Hungarian Scientific Research Fund). We thank Gretchen A. Cress, RN, BSN, Erin M. Reynolds, PhD, MPH, and Heather A. Davis, MLIS for advice on setting up the database used for this study.

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The authors declare that they have no financial relationships and no conflict of interest relevant to this article to disclose.

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Correspondence to Edward F. Bell.

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Hyland, R.M., Komlósi, K., Alleman, B.W. et al. Infantile hemangiomas and retinopathy of prematurity: clues to the regulation of vasculogenesis. Eur J Pediatr 172, 803–809 (2013).

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  • Angiogenesis
  • Hemangioma
  • Preterm infants
  • Retinopathy of prematurity
  • Vascular endothelial growth factor
  • Vasculogenesis