Vascular anomalies are birthmarks composed of blood vessels (arteries, veins, lymphatic vessels, and/or capillaries) that have developed abnormally. At WVU Medicine Children’s, we treat the following vascular anomalies:
- Arteriovenous malformations
- Capillary malformations
- Infantile hemangiomas
- Lymphatic malformations
- Venous malformations
Vascular Anomalies Team
The Vascular Anomalies Team (VAT) is a multidisciplinary group of providers that offers a wide range of services for patients of all ages with vascular anomalies and their families, including:
- Comprehensive consultation services for physicians, patients, and families throughout the state
- The latest diagnostic and treatment approaches
- Monthly interdisciplinary case review
- Access to therapies and interventions, including investigational therapies when indicated and available
- Clinical research aimed at improving the care of patients with these disorders as well as developing new, more effective therapies
- Extensive educational information about educational organizations, support and networking groups, and other patient and family resources
Vascular Anomalies Team Nurse Coordinator
A specialized nurse coordinator will provide a timely intake clinical evaluation and then arrange for a team visit. During the evaluation, the VAT nurse coordinator will determine which specialists the child will need to see and will coordinate this visit accordingly. After the Team evaluation, the nurse coordinator will educate patients and families about their diagnosis, help to calm fears, and empower patients and/or parents.
Vascular Anomalies Team Resources
Because of their complex nature, vascular anomalies call for more than medical care. In addition to our comprehensive, multidisciplinary clinical services, the Vascular Anomalies Team also provides information and support for patients and families, including:
- Advice as to when to see a vascular anomalies specialist
- Guidance and resources for coping with the emotional aspects of having a vascular anomaly
- A directory of advocacy and support groups for those with vascular anomalies and their families
A vascular anomaly can elicit a range of emotions for parents, the affected child, and the entire family, especially if it is prominent. Even those anomalies that will ultimately go away invariably challenge parental coping skills and children’s self-esteem.
The following experts are available to help patients and families on this journey:
A vascular anomalies specialist: One important source of support is a vascular anomalies specialist, who can help families understand how their child’s vascular anomaly may change over time and guide them and their child – as he/she becomes self-conscious about the birthmark — to resources that can help him/her deal with many of the emotional issues.
Your primary care physician (e.g., pediatrician): The child’s primary care physician — if he/she communicates with the vascular anomalies specialist and is knowledgeable and up-to-date about the latest treatments for vascular anomalies — can be a source of ongoing support as well.
Counselors and other mental health professionals: Some families find it helpful to seek counseling with a mental health professional. For instance, counselors and social workers, such as those available through the Vascular Anomalies Team, can help children deal with the psychological and social issues related to having a birthmark, and can often serve important roles for siblings as well.
Friends and family: Friends and family, including extended family members, can be a valuable source of support and provide a much-needed respite from strangers’ stares and questions. One recent study showed that parents of children with disfiguring facial hemangiomas found it helpful to interact regularly with adults and children who knew their child and were accustomed to his appearance.
Advocacy and support groups: Communities of families with the same or similar experiences can be a tremendous source of strength, advice, and support. They provide parents an opportunity to share their experiences and feelings with others in a similar situation.
WVU Medicine Children’s Cleft Lip and Palate Program is listed as an ACPA Approved Team by the American Cleft Palate-CraniofacialAssociation (ACPA).