Cavernous liver haemangioma

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Cavernous liver haemangioma
Hemangioma of the liver as seen on ultrasound
Classification and external resources
Specialty oncology
ICD-10 D18.0
ICD-9-CM 228
MedlinePlus 000243

A cavernous liver haemangioma or hepatic haemangioma is a benign tumour of the liver composed of hepatic endothelial cells. It is the most common liver tumour, and is usually asymptomatic and diagnosed incidentally on radiological imaging. Liver haemangiomas are thought to be congenital in origin.[1] Several subtypes exist, including the giant hepatic haemangioma, which can cause significant complications.


Liver haemangiomas are typically hyperechoic on ultrasound though may occasionally be hypoechoic; ultrasound is not diagnostic. Computed tomography (CT),[2] magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)[3] or single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) using autologous labelled Red Blood Cells (RBC) with Tc-99m is diagnostic. Biopsy is avoided due to the risk of haemorrhage.

Hepatic haemangiomas can occur as part of a clinical syndrome, for example Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber syndrome, Osler–Weber–Rendu syndrome and Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome.


Giant hepatic haemangioma[edit]

This large, atypical haemangioma of the liver may present with abdominal pain or fullness due to haemorrhage, thrombosis or mass effect. It may also lead to left ventricular volume overload and heart failure due to the increase in cardiac output which it causes.[4] Further complications are Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, a form of consumptive coagulopathy due to thrombocytopaenia, and rupture.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Baron R. 'Liver: Masses Part I: detection and characterization'. The Radiology Assistant 2006
  2. ^ Brodsky RI, Friedman AC, Maurer AH et-al. Hepatic cavernous hemangioma: diagnosis with 99mTc-labeled red cells and single-photon emission CT. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 1987;148 (1): 125-9. PMID 3491500
  3. ^ Vilanova JC, Barceló J, Smirniotopoulos JG et-al. Hemangioma from head to toe: MR imaging with pathologic correlation. Radiographics. 24 (2): 367-85. PMID 15026587 doi:10.1148/rg.242035079
  4. ^ Gardiner M, Eisen S, Murphy C. Training in paediatrics: the essential curriculum. Oxford University Press, Oxford 2009.