To report our experience with propranolol in managing airway infantile hemangiomas.
Case series of 3 consecutive patients who had extensive, symptomatic airway infantile hemangiomas treated with propranolol.
Tertiary academic medical center.
Three infants with facial cutaneous hemangiomas who developed stridor that progressed to respiratory distress, which according to laryngoscopic examination results was confirmed to be caused by extensive subglottic hemangiomas. These patients underwent follow-up during their course of therapy, ranging from 3 weeks to 15 months.
Patient 1 failed to respond to systemic corticosteroids, laser ablation, and intravenous vincristine for her airway hemangioma and had to undergo tracheotomy. She was given propranolol after her tracheotomy and had a significant reduction in her subglottic airway obstruction. Patient 2 developed progressive stridor secondary to airway hemangioma at age 6½ months following tapering of systemic corticosteroids prescribed for her periorbital hemangioma. Systemic corticosteroids were restarted with the addition of propranolol. The stridor improved within 24 hours, and she was able to be weaned off corticosteroids. Patient 3 was also treated with initial combined therapy of systemic corticosteroids and propranolol. He had a significant reduction in stridor within 24 hours and was weaned off corticosteroids.
Our 3 patients had severe respiratory symptoms related to their airway infantile hemangiomas. In the first patient, propranolol was used when other treatments were ineffective or associated with intolerable adverse effects. In the second and third patients, propranolol was part of a dual regimen that resulted in rapid resolution of airway symptoms and allowed for quicker weaning of corticosteroids.