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The term angioma has long been used to describe both vascular tumours and malformations. At the present time, the term vascular anomaly is more widely used. Most frequently visible but sometimes deep and involving major organs, all these abnormalities affect one or more parts of the vascular tree, the capillaries, arteries, veins and lymphatic vessels, individually or in combination. Two groups of vascular anomalies are currently recognised [17, 21] :
— vascular tumours, infantile haemangioma being the most common of these ;
— vascular malformations of the slow-flow capillary, venous or lymphatic vessel type, which are slow-flow abnormalities, and of the arterial or arteriovenous type which are fast-flow.
Each group has its own clinical consequences and is managed and treated differently. In most cases, the trained observer is able distinguish amongst the various types on the basis of clinical findings, which is why it is important for these lesions to be reviewed by a multidisciplinary group of specialists. Such groups exist all over the world. Advances in the understanding and treatment of vascular anomalies have been shared on a yearly basis since 1976 during the International Workshop on Vascular Anomalies which is now part of the International Society for the Study of Vascular Anomalies (ISSVA) (www.issva.org). This is an extremely important annual event because it stimulates interest in the field, encourages research efforts and leads to progress in our approach to both diagnosis and treatment.
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