Blood Pressure Drug for Birthmarks

Hemangiomas are one of the most common birthmarks in babies, affecting up to 10-percent. Sometimes the marks aren't just a cosmetic problem. One baby's hemangioma was suffocating her … until doctors saved her life by using an old drug in a new way. A hemangioma or vascular birthmark is considered a tumor, but it's not cancer. While most go away, Luree Kirkpatrick had a much more serious problem. Just days after she was born, a hemangioma had grown around her trachea and aorta, blocking 40-percent of her airway. Her parents were told a tracheotomy might be her only option, until Doctor Dale Tylor suggested trying the blood pressure medication Propranolol. Within 24 hours, her breathing problems were gone and there were visible changes externally. Propranolol has been used for fifty years to treat high blood pressure. Doctor Tylor says the risks of a baby taking it are small, but include low blood pressure and low blood sugar. Doctor Tylor is using this drug off-label for this condition. She says almost 100-percent of children get some sort of result from it. Doctor Tylor is an Otolaryngologist at Vanderbilt University.

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