Cavernous hemangioma of the liver: factors affecting disease progression in general hepatology practice.

Research paper by Arash A Etemadi, Asieh A Golozar, Akhgar A Ghassabian, Mahsa M Zarei, Amir Pejman AP Hashemi Taheri, Sanford M SM Dawsey, Reza R Malekzadeh

Indexed on: 09 Mar '11Published on: 09 Mar '11Published in: European journal of gastroenterology & hepatology


Although for asymptomatic hepatic hemangiomas conservative management is generally recommended, factors affecting the disease course are still not very well understood.To determine disease characteristics of cavernous hemangioma and factors affecting its progression in patients from a general hepatology clinic in Tehran, Iran.We reviewed medical records of 198 patients with cavernous hemangioma of the liver visiting a large private hepatology clinic in Tehran from 1997 to 2007. Of a total of 198 cases, 129 could be followed up for a period of 3.2 ± 2.5 years, and 80 of these had 1-5 repeated sonographies.Patients were between 27 and 84 years old (mean age: 44.3 ± 10.9 years), and 131 (66.2%) were female. Thirty-six patients (18.2%) had giant hemangiomas. Abdominal pain was the primary reason for evaluation in 100 (50.5%) patients. Abdominal pain at the beginning of the follow-up was significantly associated with having irritable bowel syndrome [odds ratio (OR)=8.3; 95% confidence interval (CI): 3.1-28.7] or other gastrointestinal diseases (OR=3.9; 95% CI: 2.6-10.2), but not with hemangioma size, number, or location. During follow-up, having a single giant lesion at the time of diagnosis, adjusted for age, sex, and presence of irritable bowel syndrome, was a strong predictor of persistent pain during follow-up (OR=11.1; 95% CI: 3.2-38.6). In repeated sonographies, 35% showed an increased size, which was significantly associated only with having a single lesion (P=0.04).Many symptoms in hepatic hemangioma are attributable to accompanying gastrointestinal diseases. Patients with a single giant lesion are more likely to have persistent pain, and single lesions are more likely to grow in size.