Living and Wellness Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) and the Liver By Transplant Services, September 21, 2018 Affecting 1.4 million people worldwide, hereditary hemorrhagic telangiectasia (HHT) is a genetic disorder that damages the blood vessels. HHT occurs when the blood vessels that connect arteries to veins are not properly formed. In small blood vessels, these abnormal connections are called telangiectasias. In a large blood vessel, it’s arteriovenous malformation (AVM). For people with HHT, excessive bleeding and nosebleeds are common symptoms. UPMC is a leader in transplantation. Learn more about living-donor liver transplants. What Happens If I Have HHT? If you have symptoms of HHT, speak to your doctor right away. There are tests to determine if there are AVMs in your brain or lungs. Because the disorder is inherited, your doctor may order genetic testing to confirm the diagnosis. If you are diagnosed with HHT, talk to family members who could also be affected. There is no cure for HHT, but treatment can help control bleeding and prevent further complications. While no treatment is available to prevent AVMs from forming, it is possible to monitor for the formation of new ones. How HHT Can Lead to a Liver Transplant One complication of HHT is anemia, or a lack of red blood cells in the body. More severe complications include: Stroke Brain abscesses Heart failure Liver dysfunction Certain blood vessel malformations can damage the liver directly. If liver damage is severe enough, a liver transplant could be necessary. If this happens, your doctor will perform an extensive transplant evaluation to determine if a transplant is your best option. If so, you will be placed on the liver transplant waiting list. With more than 14,000 Americans on the liver transplant waiting list, the wait for a transplant may take years. By finding a living donor, though, it is possible to get a liver sooner. The UPMC Liver Transplant program is one of the largest and most experienced in the United States. Our doctors have the skills and resources to treat even the most complex cases, including HHT. Because of our expertise, living-donor liver transplants are a first-line option at UPMC. UPMC is a leader in transplantation. Learn more about living-donor liver transplants.