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Does Your Newborn Have A Port Wine Stain? Ask Pediatrician To Evaluate Your Baby For Sturge-Weber Syndrome

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According to research, one in every 300 babies are born with port wine stains. A port wine stain is a birthmark that is deep red due to excessive capillary action and usually not indicative of a more serious health issue. However, usually is the keyword. Sturge-Weber syndrome is a serious medical condition that produces the same birthmark and affects roughly one in every 20,000 births. Sturge-Weber syndrome, also called encephalotrigeminal angiomatosis, can be detrimental to the health and development of your newborn. If your baby was born with a port wine stain, he or she will need to be tested for Sturge-Weber syndrome. Here's what you need to know. 

Sturge-Weber Syndrome 

At some point during the pregnancy, a random change to a single gene caused excessive capillary action to occur, which resulted in the port wine stain. For patients with Sturge-Weber syndrome, this excessive capillary action was even more pronounced and resulted in more than just the skin being affected. Sturge-Weber syndrome is the abnormal condition of the blood vessels near or around the trigeminal nerve and the brain, which can result in serious eye problems, such as glaucoma, and neurological symptoms, especially seizures. Developmental delays can occur due to the affects of the excessive capillary formation in and near the brain. More severe cases can result in weakness and paralysis. 


Your newborn's pediatrician should order tests due to your newborn having a port wine stain. The tests for Sturge-Weber syndrome are a series of imaging scans, particularly CT scans and MRIs. These imaging tests are the only way to determine whether or not the excessive capillary action that produced the port wine stain is further and deeper into the body than just the skin. It's important for your newborn to remain completely still during these tests, so it may take several attempts for the imaging to produce clear results. 


Treatment for Sturge-Weber involves treating symptoms rather than trying to reduce or eliminate the excessive capillary action. Treatment typically includes a prescription for an anti-seizure medication, physical therapy to improve weakness, and drops for the eyes to reduce the risks of glaucoma. If diagnosed with Sturge-Weber, your newborn will require more comprehensive medical exams to ensure that the continued use of medication is appropriate and not causing any side affects.

Speak with your newborn's pediatrician for more information regarding Sturge-Weber syndrome and to have your child tested for the condition due to having a port wine stain. 

To learn more, get in touch with a group such as Advocare Haddon Pediatric Group at Haddon Heights.