Complex Vascular Anomalies Program (CVAP)

Patients with complex vascular anomalies have conditions of the veins, arteries, and the lymphatic system that cause overgrowth, malformations, and tumors (usually not cancerous). These conditions, which can range in severity, can cause pronounced visible deformities, block critical body functions such as swallowing or breathing, or cause severe pain during otherwise normal daily activities.

The Complex Vascular Anomalies Program (CVAP) includes state-of-the-art genomics and personalized research strategies to determine the causes of these conditions and identify targeted, potentially curative therapies.

A history of innovative care 

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) has been treating patients with vascular anomalies for more than 25 years. Plastic surgeons have developed expertise in management of vascular anomalies in collaboration with specially trained pediatric interventional radiologists, who treat these conditions with advanced, minimally invasive procedures using imaging tools.

An emerging need

As our understanding of vascular anomalies has increased, our treatment approach has evolved. It has become increasingly clear that patients with more complex forms of vascular anomalies benefit from the collaboration of various specialists. Depending on the severity of their condition, CVAP patients may see specialists from:

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Dermatology
  • Lymphedema Therapy
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Physical & Occupational Therapy 
  • Psychology
  • General Surgery
  • Fetal Surgery
  • Otolaryngology
  • Neurology
  • Ophthalmology
  • Hematology
  • Orthopaedics
  • Cardiology
  • Pulmonology
  • Social Work

As part of our multidisciplinary approach to care, our program also provides psychosocial and emotional support services to patients and their families.

Promising treatment

For children and adults whose condition includes lymphatic leaks and lymphatic flow disorders, we work closely with the Jill and Mark Fishman Center for Lymphatic Disorders. The Center has developed minimally invasive, state-of-the-art procedures to treat these conditions.

Recently, innovative research collaboration between the Center for Applied Genomics and the Jill and Mark Fishman Center for Lymphatic Disorders has resulted in a groundbreaking new therapy for patients with a severe lymphatic conduction disorder. This finding has propelled a significant expansion of CHOP’s expertise and our international reach in the care of those with complex vascular anomalies.

Research studies and clinical trials

The CVAP was designed and implemented in response to the need for a well-coordinated multi-disciplinary clinic and research program. This allows providers to collaborate more effectively in serving patients and their families.

The research component revolves around our findings that certain genetic mutations are the root cause of many vascular anomalies, some of which are responsive to advanced therapies that are not yet clinically indicated treatments for these conditions. Conducting clinical trials to help find promising treatments for patients with vascular anomalies will hopefully lead to U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval of these much-needed treatments. As a result, in the future countless more patients will benefit from this life-saving precision medicine approach pioneered at CHOP.