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CLOVES Syndrome in Children

  • Overview

    In 2006, Boston Children’s Hospital interventional radiologist and Vascular Anomalies Center Co-Director Ahmad Alomari, MD, MSc, FSIR, discovered a very rare congenital (present at birth) disorder characterized by a combination of vascular (involving the blood vessels), skin, spinal and bone or joint abnormalities.

    Dr. Alomari named this complex condition Congenital Lipomatous Overgrowth, Vascular Malformations, Epidermal Nevis, Spinal/Skeletal Anomalies/Scoliosis syndrome—“CLOVES” for short.

    CLOVES syndrome can be very difficult to diagnose correctly—not only because it is so rare, but also because its signs and symptoms vary quite a bit in the way they occur and how severe they are.

    In general, children with CLOVES have some type of:

    • fatty mass in their torso, or “trunk”
    • vascular anomalies
    • skin abnormality
    • overgrowth or deformities in their arms/hands and/or their legs/feet
    • scoliosis or other spinal problem

    CLOVES can also cause small or missing kidneys and problems with the joints.

    The long-term picture for a child with CLOVES depends on how serious his symptoms are and how old he is when he is diagnosed. The sooner the disease is detected and the proper course of treatment is started, the better the general outlook.

    That’s why it is essential to seek treatment from pediatric doctors with specialized expertise in CLOVES syndrome—experts like those on the Vascular Anomalies Center team at Boston Children’s Hospital. We are the world leaders in diagnosing and treating CLOVES.

    How Boston Children’s Hospital approaches CLOVES syndrome

    Not only was CLOVES syndrome first discovered by a Boston Children’s physician; our hospital also has a long and distinguished history of caring for infants, children, teens and young adults with all kinds of complex vascular anomalies.

    Our Vascular Anomalies Center clinicians are renowned for managing disorders involving the blood vessels—ranging from very rare syndromes like CLOVES to more common conditions, such as hemangiomas and lymphatic, venous and arteriovenous malformations. Learn more about the services we offer.

    Because CLOVES can affect so many different parts of a child’s body, a multidisciplinary approach is critical. Here at Boston Children’s, doctors in our Vascular Anomalies Center work closely with colleagues in:

    This allows us to offer comprehensive, compassionate care that will not only address your child’s medical and surgical needs, but will also provide emotional and educational support for your entire family.

    CLOVES syndrome: Reviewed by Ahmad Alomari, MD, MSc, FSIR
    © Boston Children’s Hospital; posted in 2012

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