Propranolol versus corticosteroids: what should be the treatment of choice in infantile hemangiomas?

Carla I. J. M. Theunissen, J. Henk Sillevis Smitt, Chantal M. A. M. van der Horst

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Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are common and benign vascular tumors and usually involute spontaneously. Nevertheless, in some cases, treatment with systemic corticosteroids or propranolol is required. No randomized controlled studies, in which both treatment options were compared, have been performed. A systematic literature review and a retrospective cohort study in the Academic Medical Centre of 56 patients (mean age, 5.5 months; range, 0-40 months; SD, 7.6) with IHs were carried out. These patients were treated with either systemic corticosteroids or propranolol. The outcomes of both treatment options were evaluated and compared. The literature review showed that propranolol resulted in an involution in 100% of the patients, whereas corticosteroids only reached involution in 89%. The mean first response of the IH to propranolol was 3.2 days and of corticosteroids was 8.5 days. In our study sample, the patients treated with propranolol showed a faster and better response than the patients treated with corticosteroids. This is in line with literature findings. Systemic propranolol treatment is more effective for IHs than systemic corticosteroid treatment. Secondly, propranolol elicits a faster response than corticosteroids
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)237-241
JournalAnnals of Plastic Surgery
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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