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Abstract

Venous malformations (VMs) are often painful and may enlarge over time. Chronic coagulopathy is common in VMs and may contribute to phleboliths and potentially to disease progression. Few studies have examined the effects of anticoagulation on VMs and to our knowledge none have examined the use of aspirin therapy. A survey was administered to patients and parents of patients with VMs who attended the University of California at San Francisco Vascular Anomalies Center over a 4-year period (2008–2012) to whom aspirin had been recommended. They were surveyed regarding whether they were taking aspirin and, if yes, whether aspirin had resulted in any appreciable benefit. Sixty-five letters were sent to potential subjects: 38 participated and 27 declined to participate or could not be contacted. Twenty-eight of the 38 had begun aspirin and 22 reported current use. Seventeen reported some benefit, including less aching (n = 2), less shooting pain (n = 15), less fullness and swelling (n = 13), and shrinking of the VM (n = 1). Discontinuation of aspirin was associated with worsening VM symptoms in five of six patients. Side effects were reported in 6 of 28 patients, including five episodes of minor bleeding or excessive bruising and one of nausea and vomiting. This study suggests that aspirin may be a beneficial treatment for VM, with a reduction in pain and soft tissue swelling and an acceptable side-effect profile, but the retrospective nature of the study and the small size of the cohort limited our conclusions. Larger prospective studies of aspirin for VM using clinical and laboratory outcome measures are needed to confirm these observations.