NORD gratefully acknowledges Andrew McAsey, NORD Editorial Intern from the University of Notre Dame, and Reed E. Pyeritz, MD, PhD, William Smilow Professor of Medicine & Professor of Genetics, Vice-chair for Academic Affairs, Department of Medicine, Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute for Health Economics, Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, Smilow Center for Translational Research, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT or Osler-Weber-Rendu syndrome) is an inherited disorder characterized by malformations of various blood vessels (vascular dysplasia), usually resulting in bleeding (hemorrhaging). Chronic nosebleeds are often the first sign and malformation of various blood vessels may result in abnormalities affecting the lungs, brain, spinal cord, and liver. A variety of treatments exist for the various features of HHT to improve quality of life and prevent life-threatening complications Individuals with HHT have a near-normal life expectancy. HHT is inherited as an autosomal dominant trait.
HHT was first described by Henry Gawen Sutton in 1864. With similar symptoms to hemophilia the two diseases were differentiated by Henri Jules Louis Marie Rendu in 1896. William Osler connected the disease’s presence in families to establish it as an inherited disorder. In 1907 Frederick Parkes Weber continued the characterization of the disease, writing a report on a series of cases. In 1909, the name "hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia" was coined, but alternate names based on the scientists who first characterized it have also been commonly used. Since its first identification, HHT has been an underdiagnosed disease, affecting more than a million people worldwide.
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