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Hereditary Hemorrhagic Telangiectasia (HHT) Diagnosis

Our doctors at the HHT Center use the “Curaçao criteria” to diagnose HHT.

The four criteria are:

  • Recurrent nosebleeds, also known as epistaxis.
  • Telangiectasias, mainly on the hands, face, and in the mouth.
  • Arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) in major organs such as the liver, lung, or brain.
  • A family history of HHT.
If you meet: ​Then:
three or four of these criteria, you're very likely to have HHT.
two of these criteria, there's a chance that you have HHT.
one or zero criteria, you're very unlikely to have HHT.

Tests for Diagnosing HHT

At your first visit to the HHT Center, your doctor may not know if you have internal AVMs.

If your doctor suspects HHT, he or she will likely order noninvasive diagnostic tests such as:

  • MRI
  • CT scan
  • Echocardiogram

These tests will tell if you have brain or lung AVMs.

Your doctor may also suggest genetic testing to find out if you have a mutation in one of the following genes:

  • Endoglin (ENG)
  • Activin receptor type II-like kinase 1 (ACVRL1)
  • SMAD4

If you have HHT, we urge you to tell your relatives so they can decide if they want to have diagnostic tests for this disease. Your first-degree relatives (biologic parents, brothers and sisters, and children) have a 50% chance of having the disease if you have the disease, regardless of whether they are symptomatic.

We highly recommend a clinical or genetic diagnosis for all related family members. An early diagnosis, follow-up care, and long-term monitoring can help prevent the complications of HHT.

Contact Us

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call the HHT Center of Excellence at 412-648-6161,
or email us at

Please let us know if the patient is under 18 so we can schedule care at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

Additional Resources

Opens the Cure HHT website
Vascular Medicine Institute at the University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh Human Genetics Public Health Program

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For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

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