Assessment of Infantile Hemangiomas Using a Handheld Wireless Diffuse Optical Spectroscopic Device

Christopher J. Fong, Maria C. Garzon, Jennifer W. Hoi, Hyun K. Kim, Christine T. Lauren, Kimberly Morel, Lauren Geller, Nina Antonov, Nicole Weitz, June Wu, Andreas H. Hielscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background/Objectives: Infantile hemangiomas (IHs) are vascular tumors with the potential for significant morbidity. There is a lack of validated objective tools to assess IH severity and response to treatment. Diffuse optical spectroscopy (DOS), a noninvasive, nonionizing imaging modality, can measure total hemoglobin concentration and hemoglobin oxygen saturation in tissue to assess IH vascularity and response to treatment. Our objective was to evaluate the utility of a wireless, handheld DOS system to assess IH characteristics at selected points during their clinical course. Methods: Thirteen subjects (initial age 5.8 ± 2.0 mos) with 15 IHs were enrolled. IHs were classified as proliferative, plateau phase, or involuting. Nine patients with 11 IHs were untreated; four patients with 4 IHs were treated with timolol or propranolol. Each IH was evaluated by placing the DOS system directly on the lesion as well a normal contralateral skin site. IH vascularity and oxygenation were scored using a newly defined normalized hypoxia fraction (NHF) coefficient. Measurements were recorded at various intervals from the initial visit to 1 to 2 years of age. Results: For the nine untreated IHs, the NHF was highest at 6 months of age, during proliferation. Differences in NHFs between the proliferation and the plateau (p = 0.02) and involuting (p < 0.001) stages were statistically significant. In treated patients, the NHF normalized to 60% after 2 months. One treated IH came within 5% of the NHF for normal skin after 12 months. Conclusions: DOS can be used to assess the vascularity and tissue oxygenation of IHs and monitor their progression and response to treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-391
Number of pages6
JournalPediatric Dermatology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists/therapeutic use
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Hemangioma/diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Pilot Projects
  • Spectroscopy, Near-Infrared/methods
  • Wireless Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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