Telangiectasia

Alternative names
Vascular ectasias

Definition
Telangiectasias are abnormally dilated blood vessels associated with a number of diseases.

Considerations
Telangiectasias may develop anywhere within the body but can be easily seen in the skin, mucous membranes, and whites of the eyes. Though most are asymptomatic, some telangiectasias bleed readily and cause significant problems. Telangiectasias may also occur in the brain and cause significant problems from bleeding.

Common Causes

     
  • Facial telangiectasia associated with age, sun exposure, or alcohol use  
  • Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome)  
  • Ataxia - telangiectasia  
  • Spider angioma  
  • Cutis marmorata telangiectatica congenita (an inherited disorder)  
  • Bloom syndrome  
  • Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome  
  • Sturge-Weber disease  
  • Xeroderma pigmentosa  
  • Nevus flammeus such as port-wine stain

Call your health care provider if

If you notice enlarged vessels in the skin, mucous membranes, or eyes of your child, call your health care provider.

What to expect at your health care provider’s office
Telangiectasia can be a symptom of a disease. Most of those disorders can be diagnosed by history and physical examination.

Medical history questions documenting telangiectasia in detail may include:

     
  • Is the condition visible?  
  • Where is it located exactly?  
  • Do the vessels bleed easily?       o Do they bleed spontaneously?  
  • What other symptoms are also present?

Physical examination is usually limited to a dermatologic examination.

Various X-rays, CT scans or MRI scans, and liver function studies, or other blood studies may be indicated. The specific tests will depend on the suspected disease.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Dave R. Roger, M.D.

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All ArmMed Media material is provided for information only and is neither advice nor a substitute for proper medical care. Consult a qualified healthcare professional who understands your particular history for individual concerns.