Diffuse neonatal hemangiomatosis is a rare condition that presents with multiple vascular (blood vessels) tumors of unknown origin. The condition is characterized by multiple, progressive, rapidly growing cutaneous (skin) hemangiomas (the buildup of blood vessels on the skin) and visceral hemangiomas that can appear on the liver, lungs, and brain.
The skin hemangiomas (often called strawberries) may appear any time from birth through the first few months of life and are most commonly found on the face, scalp, trunk and arms or legs. Although the vast majority of infants with multiple hemangiomas have no complications, infants with significant visceral involvement can rarely develop serious complications. In rare cases where complications occur, cardiac failure is one possibility due to the inability of blood to flow correctly through the body when the liver is severely involved. The cause of hemangiomatosis (multiple hemangiomas) is unknown, but in general they occur more frequently in female, Caucasian infants. Multiple hemangiomas are also strongly associated with prematurity and multiple births (twins, triplets), and occur more frequently in infants whose mothers had placenta previa or preeclampsia during pregnancy.
No treatment is needed for uncomplicated lesions as almost all hemangiomas completely resolve over time. When required, the typical treatment is a six to eight week course of steroids. Infants less than 6 months of age with five or more cutaneous hemangiomas should be evaluated for possible visceral involvement. Abdominal and head ultrasounds are an appropriate screening tool. If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with diffuse neonatal hemangiomatosis, talk to your doctor about the most current treatment options.