Hemangiomas of Infancy: Epidemiology

  • Maria Rosa Cordisco


Few reports about the epidemiology of infantile hemangiomas (IH) exist and prospective studies are missing; it is difficult to provide some data. The incidence in the general newborn population is between 1.1 and 2.6%, but increases to up to 12% by one year of age. About 30% of IH are noticed at birth and 70–90% appear during the first four weeks of life. The majority of hemangiomas occur sporadically; however, familial occurrence of IH has been reported.

Although IH can be seen in all races, they are more common in Caucasian infants, and less common in those of African or Asian descent. In a prospective cohort study ongoing in the United States, data in 1058 patients revealed that 68.9% of patients were Caucasian, 14.4% were Hispanic and 2.8% were African-American. The female-to-male ratio was 2.4:1.0, which is similar to the previously published ratio. Premature babies and those with a low birth weight have a significantly higher incidence of IH.

According to the new clinical classification proposed by Chiller, distribution of IH according to the different types are: localized 72%, segmental 18%, indeterminate 9%, and multifocal 3%. Twenty-four percent of patients experience complications related to their hemangiomas. Ulceration is the most common complication (16%), followed by threat to vision (5.6%), airway obstruction (1.4%), auditory canal obstruction (0.6%) and cardiac compromise (0.4%).

PHACE, a neurocutaneous syndrome that refers to the association of large, plaque-like, “segmental” hemangiomas of the face, with one or more of other anomalies, represents about 2 to 3% of patients with IH overall, and at least 20% of patients with segmental IH of the face. Cerebral and cerebrovascular anomalies of PHACE are the greatest potential source of morbidity.


Vascular Malformation Vascular Anomaly Placenta Previa Infantile Hemangioma Asian Descent 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Rosa Cordisco
    • 1
  1. 1.Pediatric Dermatology ServicePediatric Hospital “Prof. Dr. G.P. Garran”Buenos AiresArgentina

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