New classification of nasal vasculature patterns in hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia

 2006 Jan-Feb;20(1):87-90; Mahoney EJ1, Shapshay SM


Background – Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a disorder characterized by the triad of recurrent epistaxis, telangiectasia, and a family history of the disease. Management of recalcitrant epistaxis in HHT remains a challenging problem for otolaryngologists. The precise coagulation of telangiectasias with the Nd-YAG laser has shown efficacy in the treatment of HHT-associated epistaxis, but results can be variable and patient selection is critical in ensuring a successful outcome. We propose a new classification of nasal vasculature patterns in HHT as a means for selecting the Nd-YAG laser for photocoagulation treatment.

Methods – The records of 40 patients who underwent Nd-YAG laser photocoagulation for HHT were reviewed retrospectively. Outcomes after Nd-YAG laser treatment were correlated with three observed nasal vasculature patterns: (I) isolated punctate telangiectasias or individual small arteriovenous malformation; (II) diffuse interconnecting vasculature with “feeder” vessels; and (III) large solitary arteriovenous malformation, which may be associated with scattered telangiectasia.

Results – Types I and II were the most common vasculature patterns seen in this patient population. Patients with patterns I and III showed greater improvement in epistaxis after Nd-YAG laser photocoagulation. Patients with pattern II fared better with septodermoplasty.

Conclusion – These findings suggest that analysis of nasal vasculature patterns can improve therapeutic stratification of.patients with HHT. Proper patient selection using this new classification scheme may improve the management of epistaxis in patients with HHT.