Vascular malformations refer to abnormal clusters of blood vessels that usually occur during fetal development. While the precise cause of such malformations is unknown, both males and females can be affected. Most of the time, these vascular lesions are present at birth, but in other instances may not be evident until months or years after children are born. They tend to grow gradually and most often in proportion to the growth of the child. However, sometimes they can grow faster and require immediate attention.
There are several types of vascular malformations, all of which depend on the leading abnormality present. Some of them include:
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Capillary malformations
- Combined vascular malformations
- Lymphatic malformations
- Venous malformations
Vascular malformations are also classified as either slow or fast flow. These differentiations are associated with the speed of blood flowing through the affected areas. Fast flow malformations have a higher risk to develop heart failure, and therefore would require specific treatments to better manage the condition effectively. For example, arteriovenous malformations are considered fast flow lesions, while capillary, lymphatic, and venous malformations are slow flow lesions. When malformations may be either slow or fast flow, they are known as combined malformations.
The treatment options for vascular malformations are heavily dependent on key factors such as the type, location, and depth. The use of compression apparel, laser therapy, as well as drug therapy are often recommended to treat apparent malformations. Deeper lesions however, may necessitate surgical removal or other more intense therapies. BASIC can help evaluate the right method of treatment for you and your child.