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Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a genetic condition with autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance inheritance. Marfan syndrome affects the elasticity Elasticity Resistance and recovery from distortion of shape. Skeletal Muscle Contraction of connective tissues throughout the body, most notably in the cardiovascular, ocular, and musculoskeletal systems. The skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions, lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy, and central nervous system Central nervous system The main information-processing organs of the nervous system, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and meninges. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification are also affected. Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship are usually tall with long limbs, fingers, and toes, and hypermobile joints. Associated conditions include aortic aneurysm Aortic aneurysm An abnormal balloon- or sac-like dilatation in the wall of aorta. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms or dissection, mitral valve Mitral valve The valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. Heart: Anatomy prolapse, and lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy dislocation. Diagnosis is made clinically with set criteria, and genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies is done only when it may affect the management. Medical or surgical management is based on clinical manifestations. Cardiovascular involvement is followed closely, as it is the main cause of mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status.

Last updated: Nov 21, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Epidemiology and Genetics

Epidemiology

  • Incidence Incidence The number of new cases of a given disease during a given period in a specified population. It also is used for the rate at which new events occur in a defined population. It is differentiated from prevalence, which refers to all cases in the population at a given time. Measures of Disease Frequency: 1 in 5,000 live births 
  • Affects men and women in all ethnic and racial groups

Genetics Genetics Genetics is the study of genes and their functions and behaviors. Basic Terms of Genetics

  • Most commonly due to a mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations in the FBN1 gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics on chromosome Chromosome In a prokaryotic cell or in the nucleus of a eukaryotic cell, a structure consisting of or containing DNA which carries the genetic information essential to the cell. Basic Terms of Genetics 15
    • Affects the connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology protein, fibrillin-1
      • Fibrillin-1 is the main component of microfibrils, which form elastic Elastic Connective Tissue: Histology fibers in connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology.
      • Mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations in FBN1 gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics → impaired fibrillin protein → defective microfibrils → ↓ elasticity Elasticity Resistance and recovery from distortion of shape. Skeletal Muscle Contraction in tissues
    • Affects connective tissues throughout the body:
      • Organs
      • Blood vessels 
      • Eyes 
      • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions
      • Skeletal components  
  • Inheritance pattern: autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance
  • Penetrance Penetrance The percent frequency with which a dominant or homozygous recessive gene or gene combination manifests itself in the phenotype of the carriers. Familial Juvenile Polyposis: complete
  • Expressivity: variable Variable Variables represent information about something that can change. The design of the measurement scales, or of the methods for obtaining information, will determine the data gathered and the characteristics of that data. As a result, a variable can be qualitative or quantitative, and may be further classified into subgroups. Types of Variables
Marfan syndrome in iranian family

Family members with Marfan’s syndrome

Image: “Family members with Marfan’s syndrome” by Birjand Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis Atherosclerosis is a common form of arterial disease in which lipid deposition forms a plaque in the blood vessel walls. Atherosclerosis is an incurable disease, for which there are clearly defined risk factors that often can be reduced through a change in lifestyle and behavior of the patient. Atherosclerosis and Coronary Artery Coronary Artery Truncus Arteriosus Research Research Critical and exhaustive investigation or experimentation, having for its aim the discovery of new facts and their correct interpretation, the revision of accepted conclusions, theories, or laws in the light of newly discovered facts, or the practical application of such new or revised conclusions, theories, or laws. Conflict of Interest Centre, Birjand University of Medical Sciences, Birjand, Iran. License: CC BY 3.0

Clinical Presentation

Musculoskeletal

  • Tall stature with disproportionately long extremities:
    • ↓ upper segment to lower segment ratio (US/LS)
    • arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy span to height ratio
  • Long fingers and toes (arachnodactyly):
    • Positive thumb sign (Steinberg’s sign): The distal phalanx of the adducted thumb extends beyond the ulnar border of a clenched fist palm.
    • Positive wrist sign (Walker sign): The thumb and 5th finger of the hand Hand The hand constitutes the distal part of the upper limb and provides the fine, precise movements needed in activities of daily living. It consists of 5 metacarpal bones and 14 phalanges, as well as numerous muscles innervated by the median and ulnar nerves. Hand: Anatomy overlap with each other when wrapped around the contralateral wrist. 
  • Joint laxity
  • Elbows may lack full extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs mobility.
  • Vertebral column Vertebral column The human spine, or vertebral column, is the most important anatomical and functional axis of the human body. It consists of 7 cervical vertebrae, 12 thoracic vertebrae, and 5 lumbar vertebrae and is limited cranially by the skull and caudally by the sacrum. Vertebral Column: Anatomy abnormalities:
    • Scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis 
    • Kyphosis Kyphosis Deformities of the spine characterized by an exaggerated convexity of the vertebral column. The forward bending of the thoracic region usually is more than 40 degrees. This deformity sometimes is called round back or hunchback. Osteoporosis 
  • Chest abnormalities:
    • Pectus excavatum Pectus Excavatum Cardiovascular Examination ( funnel chest Funnel Chest Cardiovascular Examination)
      • Sternum Sternum A long, narrow, and flat bone commonly known as breastbone occurring in the midsection of the anterior thoracic segment or chest region, which stabilizes the rib cage and serves as the point of origin for several muscles that move the arms, head, and neck. Chest Wall: Anatomy protrudes inward.
      • Looks “caved in”
    • Pectus carinatum Pectus carinatum A developmental anomaly characterized by abnormal anterior protrusion of the sternum and adjacent costal cartilage. Cardiovascular Examination ( pigeon chest Pigeon chest A developmental anomaly characterized by abnormal anterior protrusion of the sternum and adjacent costal cartilage. Cardiovascular Examination or sternal kyphosis Kyphosis Deformities of the spine characterized by an exaggerated convexity of the vertebral column. The forward bending of the thoracic region usually is more than 40 degrees. This deformity sometimes is called round back or hunchback. Osteoporosis): Sternum Sternum A long, narrow, and flat bone commonly known as breastbone occurring in the midsection of the anterior thoracic segment or chest region, which stabilizes the rib cage and serves as the point of origin for several muscles that move the arms, head, and neck. Chest Wall: Anatomy protrudes outward.
  • Hindfoot valgus:
    • Heel points outward away from midline.
    • Associated with pes planus Pes Planus Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (flat foot Foot The foot is the terminal portion of the lower limb, whose primary function is to bear weight and facilitate locomotion. The foot comprises 26 bones, including the tarsal bones, metatarsal bones, and phalanges. The bones of the foot form longitudinal and transverse arches and are supported by various muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Foot: Anatomy)
  • Protrusio acetabuli (acetabular protrusion)
  • High-arched palate Palate The palate is the structure that forms the roof of the mouth and floor of the nasal cavity. This structure is divided into soft and hard palates. Palate: Anatomy
  • Characteristic facial features:
    • Dolichocephaly (↓ head width:length ratio)
    • Enophthalmos (posterior displacement Displacement The process by which an emotional or behavioral response that is appropriate for one situation appears in another situation for which it is inappropriate. Defense Mechanisms of the eyeball within the orbit)
    • Downslanting palpebral fissures (area between open eyelids Eyelids Each of the upper and lower folds of skin which cover the eye when closed. Blepharitis)
    • Malar hypoplasia Hypoplasia Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS) (malar or zygomatic bone Zygomatic bone Either of a pair of bones that form the prominent part of the cheek and contribute to the orbit on each side of the skull. Orbit and Extraocular Muscles: Anatomy is small or absent)
    • Retrognathia (lower jaw Jaw The jaw is made up of the mandible, which comprises the lower jaw, and the maxilla, which comprises the upper jaw. The mandible articulates with the temporal bone via the temporomandibular joint (TMJ). The 4 muscles of mastication produce the movements of the TMJ to ensure the efficient chewing of food. Jaw and Temporomandibular Joint: Anatomy set back further than upper jaw Upper jaw One of a pair of irregularly shaped bones that form the upper jaw. A maxillary bone provides tooth sockets for the superior teeth, forms part of the orbit, and contains the maxillary sinus. Skull: Anatomy)

Cardiovascular

  • Aortic disease is the main cause of morbidity Morbidity The proportion of patients with a particular disease during a given year per given unit of population. Measures of Health Status and mortality Mortality All deaths reported in a given population. Measures of Health Status in Marfan syndrome (MFS) patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship, and is due to degeneration of the media of the vessel walls.
    • Dilation or aneurysm Aneurysm An aneurysm is a bulging, weakened area of a blood vessel that causes an abnormal widening of its diameter > 1.5 times the size of the native vessel. Aneurysms occur more often in arteries than in veins and are at risk of dissection and rupture, which can be life-threatening. Thoracic Aortic Aneurysms of the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy
    • Aortic regurgitation Aortic regurgitation Aortic regurgitation (AR) is a cardiac condition characterized by the backflow of blood from the aorta to the left ventricle during diastole. Aortic regurgitation is associated with an abnormal aortic valve and/or aortic root stemming from multiple causes, commonly rheumatic heart disease as well as congenital and degenerative valvular disorders. Aortic Regurgitation
      • Often occurs with aortic dilation 
      • Valve leaflets prevented from closing properly
      • Diastolic heart murmur on exam
    • Aortic dissection Aortic dissection Aortic dissection occurs due to shearing stress from pulsatile pressure causing a tear in the tunica intima of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to flow into the media, creating a “false lumen.” Aortic dissection is most commonly caused by uncontrolled hypertension. Aortic Dissection
      • Tear in the intima (innermost layer) of the aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy, allowing blood between the intima and media (middle layer)
      • Life-threatening condition
      • Presents with sudden, severe, chest pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways that radiates to the back
      • MFS patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship account for 50% of those with aortic dissection Aortic dissection Aortic dissection occurs due to shearing stress from pulsatile pressure causing a tear in the tunica intima of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to flow into the media, creating a “false lumen.” Aortic dissection is most commonly caused by uncontrolled hypertension. Aortic Dissection under 40 years of age. 
      • ↑ risk of dissection during pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care and postpartum
  • Mitral valve Mitral valve The valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. Heart: Anatomy prolapse
    • Valve leaflets bulge (prolapse) into left atrium during heart systole Systole Period of contraction of the heart, especially of the heart ventricles. Cardiac Cycle
    • More frequently seen with ↑ age and in women
    • Systolic heart murmur and midsystolic click on exam
    • Can lead to mitral regurgitation Mitral regurgitation Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the backflow of blood from the left ventricle (LV) to the left atrium (LA) during systole. Mitral regurgitation may be acute (myocardial infarction) or chronic (myxomatous degeneration). Acute and decompensated chronic MR can lead to pulmonary venous congestion, resulting in symptoms of dyspnea, orthopnea, and fatigue. Mitral Regurgitation
  • Dilation of carotid and cranial arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
    • Much less common
    • Berry (saccular) aneurysms are typically at the exit of the circle of Willis Circle of Willis A polygonal anastomosis at the base of the brain formed by the internal carotid, proximal parts of the anterior, middle, and posterior cerebral arteries, the anterior communicating artery and the posterior communicating arteries. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.
    • Rupture of a cranial artery can cause subarachnoid hemorrhage Subarachnoid Hemorrhage Subarachnoid hemorrhage (SAH) is a type of cerebrovascular accident (stroke) resulting from intracranial hemorrhage into the subarachnoid space between the arachnoid and the pia mater layers of the meninges surrounding the brain. Most SAHs originate from a saccular aneurysm in the circle of Willis but may also occur as a result of trauma, uncontrolled hypertension, vasculitis, anticoagulant use, or stimulant use. Subarachnoid Hemorrhage.

Ocular

  • Dislocation of the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy (ectopia lentis)
    • Impaired supporting ciliary zonules fail to keep the lens Lens A transparent, biconvex structure of the eye, enclosed in a capsule and situated behind the iris and in front of the vitreous humor (vitreous body). It is slightly overlapped at its margin by the ciliary processes. Adaptation by the ciliary body is crucial for ocular accommodation. Eye: Anatomy in place.
    • Upward and temporal displacement Displacement The process by which an emotional or behavioral response that is appropriate for one situation appears in another situation for which it is inappropriate. Defense Mechanisms
    • Occurs in 50%–80% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship
    • Iridodonesis can be seen on inspection Inspection Dermatologic Examination ( vibration Vibration A continuing periodic change in displacement with respect to a fixed reference. Neurological Examination of the iris with eye movement).
    • Seen on slit lamp Slit Lamp A microscope with a light source that can be projected into a linear beam. It allows cross-sectional viewing of the aqueous humor; conjuncteiva; cornea; eyelids; iris; and lens of the eye. Ophthalmic Exam examination
  • Myopia Myopia Refractive Errors ( nearsightedness Nearsightedness Refractive Errors)
  • Retinal tears or detachment
    • Often bilateral in MFS patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship
    • Associated with proliferative retinopathy Retinopathy Degenerative changes to the retina due to hypertension. Alport Syndrome
  • Glaucoma Glaucoma Glaucoma is an optic neuropathy characterized by typical visual field defects and optic nerve atrophy seen as optic disc cupping on examination. The acute form of glaucoma is a medical emergency. Glaucoma is often, but not always, caused by increased intraocular pressure (IOP). Glaucoma
  • Early cataract Cataract Partial or complete opacity on or in the lens or capsule of one or both eyes, impairing vision or causing blindness. The many kinds of cataract are classified by their morphology (size, shape, location) or etiology (cause and time of occurrence). Neurofibromatosis Type 2 formation

Other manifestations

  • Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions: striae atrophicae (stretch marks)
    • Not associated with weight changes or pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care
    • Often in uncommon areas:
      • Upper arms
      • Axillary area
      • Mid and lower back
      • Thighs
  • Pulmonary: emphysematous changes in the lungs Lungs Lungs are the main organs of the respiratory system. Lungs are paired viscera located in the thoracic cavity and are composed of spongy tissue. The primary function of the lungs is to oxygenate blood and eliminate CO2. Lungs: Anatomy
    • Lung bullae Bullae Erythema Multiforme predominantly in the upper lobes
    • ↑ risk for spontaneous pneumothorax Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition in which air collects in the pleural space, causing partial or full collapse of the lung. A pneumothorax can be traumatic or spontaneous. Patients present with a sudden onset of sharp chest pain, dyspnea, and diminished breath sounds on exam. Pneumothorax
  • Central nervous system Central nervous system The main information-processing organs of the nervous system, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and meninges. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification (CNS): lumbosacral dural ectasia
    • Dilation of the dural sac surrounding the spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy
    • Symptoms:
      • Lower back pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
      • Radicular pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways
      • Paresthesias Paresthesias Subjective cutaneous sensations (e.g., cold, warmth, tingling, pressure, etc.) that are experienced spontaneously in the absence of stimulation. Posterior Cord Syndrome
      • Bowel and bladder Bladder A musculomembranous sac along the urinary tract. Urine flows from the kidneys into the bladder via the ureters, and is held there until urination. Pyelonephritis and Perinephric Abscess dysfunction
      • Headaches

Diagnosis

  • Revised Ghent criteria
    • Complex scoring system based on the presence of characteristic Marfan syndrome manifestations
    • Requires varying combinations of:
      • Aortic root dilatation
      • Ectopia lentis
      • FBN1 gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations
      • Systemic score > 7 (see table below)
    • The presence, or absence, of a family history Family History Adult Health Maintenance of MFS is factored in.
  • Genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies for the FBN1 mutation Mutation Genetic mutations are errors in DNA that can cause protein misfolding and dysfunction. There are various types of mutations, including chromosomal, point, frameshift, and expansion mutations. Types of Mutations is done on a case-by-case basis if it will affect management.
  • Imaging is used to evaluate for complications of MFS.
    • Radiographs → pneumothorax Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition in which air collects in the pleural space, causing partial or full collapse of the lung. A pneumothorax can be traumatic or spontaneous. Patients present with a sudden onset of sharp chest pain, dyspnea, and diminished breath sounds on exam. Pneumothorax, protrusio acetabuli, scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis
    • Echocardiography Echocardiography Ultrasonic recording of the size, motion, and composition of the heart and surrounding tissues. The standard approach is transthoracic. Tricuspid Valve Atresia (TVA) (echo) → valvular and aortic root defects 
    • Computed tomography (CT) of chest, abdomen, and pelvis Pelvis The pelvis consists of the bony pelvic girdle, the muscular and ligamentous pelvic floor, and the pelvic cavity, which contains viscera, vessels, and multiple nerves and muscles. The pelvic girdle, composed of 2 “hip” bones and the sacrum, is a ring-like bony structure of the axial skeleton that links the vertebral column with the lower extremities. Pelvis: Anatomy with intravenous (IV) contrast → aortic dissection Aortic dissection Aortic dissection occurs due to shearing stress from pulsatile pressure causing a tear in the tunica intima of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to flow into the media, creating a “false lumen.” Aortic dissection is most commonly caused by uncontrolled hypertension. Aortic Dissection
    • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) → dural ectasia, aortic dilation
Table: Systemic score for the revised Ghent criteria (a score ≥ 7 indicates major systemic involvement)
Wrist and thumb sign
  • 3 points (both)
  • 1 point (1)
Pectus carinatum Pectus carinatum A developmental anomaly characterized by abnormal anterior protrusion of the sternum and adjacent costal cartilage. Cardiovascular Examination deformity Deformity Examination of the Upper Limbs 2 points
Pectus excavatum Pectus Excavatum Cardiovascular Examination or chest asymmetry Asymmetry Examination of the Upper Limbs 1 point
Hindfoot deformity Deformity Examination of the Upper Limbs 2 points
Plain pes planus Pes Planus Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome 1 point
Pneumothorax Pneumothorax A pneumothorax is a life-threatening condition in which air collects in the pleural space, causing partial or full collapse of the lung. A pneumothorax can be traumatic or spontaneous. Patients present with a sudden onset of sharp chest pain, dyspnea, and diminished breath sounds on exam. Pneumothorax 2 points
Dural ectasia 2 points
Protrusio acetabuli 2 points
↓ US/LS and ↑ arm Arm The arm, or “upper arm” in common usage, is the region of the upper limb that extends from the shoulder to the elbow joint and connects inferiorly to the forearm through the cubital fossa. It is divided into 2 fascial compartments (anterior and posterior). Arm: Anatomy span/height and no severe scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis 1 point
Scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis or kyphosis Kyphosis Deformities of the spine characterized by an exaggerated convexity of the vertebral column. The forward bending of the thoracic region usually is more than 40 degrees. This deformity sometimes is called round back or hunchback. Osteoporosis 1 point
↓ elbow extension Extension Examination of the Upper Limbs 1 point
Facial features (at least 3 of 5) 1 point
Skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions striae 1 point
Myopia Myopia Refractive Errors 1 point
Mitral valve Mitral valve The valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. Heart: Anatomy prolapse 1 point
This table does not need to be memorized, but provides insight Insight Psychiatric Assessment into the important clinical findings and the complexity of the diagnosis.

Management

The management of MFS is based on the clinical manifestations. A multidisciplinary team of cardiologists, ophthalmologists, orthopedists, and cardiovascular surgeons is needed.

General

  • Avoid:
    • Caffeine Caffeine A methylxanthine naturally occurring in some beverages and also used as a pharmacological agent. Caffeine’s most notable pharmacological effect is as a central nervous system stimulant, increasing alertness and producing agitation. Several cellular actions of caffeine have been observed, but it is not entirely clear how each contributes to its pharmacological profile. Among the most important are inhibition of cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases, antagonism of adenosine receptors, and modulation of intracellular calcium handling. Stimulants
    • Stimulants Stimulants Stimulants are used by the general public to increase alertness and energy, decrease fatigue, and promote mental focus. Stimulants have medical uses for individuals with ADHD and sleep disorders, and are also used in combination with analgesics in pain management. Stimulants
    • Strenuous exercise Strenuous exercise Physical activity which is usually regular and done with the intention of improving or maintaining physical fitness or health. Contrast with physical exertion which is concerned largely with the physiologic and metabolic response to energy expenditure. Cardiovascular Response to Exercise
    • Contact sports
    • Activities that entail the Valsalva maneuver Valsalva maneuver Forced expiratory effort against a closed glottis. Rectal Prolapse
    • Scuba diving
  • Genetic and preconception counseling
    • 50% risk of transmission to children
    • High-risk pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care due to ↑ risk of aortic dissection Aortic dissection Aortic dissection occurs due to shearing stress from pulsatile pressure causing a tear in the tunica intima of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to flow into the media, creating a “false lumen.” Aortic dissection is most commonly caused by uncontrolled hypertension. Aortic Dissection and rupture

Musculoskeletal

  • Scoliosis Scoliosis Scoliosis is a structural alteration of the vertebral column characterized by a lateral spinal curvature of greater than 10 degrees in the coronal plane. Scoliosis can be classified as idiopathic (in most cases) or secondary to underlying conditions. Scoliosis treatment
    • Bracing
    • Surgery if the curve > 40 degrees
  • Physical therapy Physical Therapy Becker Muscular Dystrophy
  • Surgery may be needed for other skeletal anomalies (e.g., pectus deformities), if severe. 

Cardiovascular

  • Echocardiography Echocardiography Ultrasonic recording of the size, motion, and composition of the heart and surrounding tissues. The standard approach is transthoracic. Tricuspid Valve Atresia (TVA)
    • Upon initial diagnosis and every 6–12 months
    • Evaluate and monitor aortic dilation.
    • Monitoring frequency is based on the rate of growth over time.
  • Cardiac CT or MRI
    • Used to confirm echo findings
    • Assess for additional aortic or vascular defects not seen on echo.
  • Medications for strict blood pressure control
    • Beta blockers 
    • Angiotensin receptor blockers Angiotensin receptor blockers Agents that antagonize angiotensin receptors. Many drugs in this class specifically target the angiotensin type 1 receptor. Heart Failure and Angina Medication ( ARBs ARBs Agents that antagonize angiotensin receptors. Many drugs in this class specifically target the angiotensin type 1 receptor. Heart Failure and Angina Medication)
    • Avoid calcium Calcium A basic element found in nearly all tissues. It is a member of the alkaline earth family of metals with the atomic symbol ca, atomic number 20, and atomic weight 40. Calcium is the most abundant mineral in the body and combines with phosphorus to form calcium phosphate in the bones and teeth. It is essential for the normal functioning of nerves and muscles and plays a role in blood coagulation (as factor IV) and in many enzymatic processes. Electrolytes channel blockers, as these may ↑ risk of aortic complications.
  • Surgery
    • Elective aortic repair or replacement surgery is indicated if:
      • Diameter ≥ 50 mm MM Multiple myeloma (MM) is a malignant condition of plasma cells (activated B lymphocytes) primarily seen in the elderly. Monoclonal proliferation of plasma cells results in cytokine-driven osteoclastic activity and excessive secretion of IgG antibodies. Multiple Myeloma
      • Rapid growth
      • Family history Family History Adult Health Maintenance of dissection
      • Progressive aortic regurgitation Aortic regurgitation Aortic regurgitation (AR) is a cardiac condition characterized by the backflow of blood from the aorta to the left ventricle during diastole. Aortic regurgitation is associated with an abnormal aortic valve and/or aortic root stemming from multiple causes, commonly rheumatic heart disease as well as congenital and degenerative valvular disorders. Aortic Regurgitation
      • Patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship considering pregnancy Pregnancy The status during which female mammals carry their developing young (embryos or fetuses) in utero before birth, beginning from fertilization to birth. Pregnancy: Diagnosis, Physiology, and Care
    • Surgery or medical management for aortic dissection Aortic dissection Aortic dissection occurs due to shearing stress from pulsatile pressure causing a tear in the tunica intima of the aortic wall. This tear allows blood to flow into the media, creating a “false lumen.” Aortic dissection is most commonly caused by uncontrolled hypertension. Aortic Dissection depends on whether the ascending aorta Aorta The main trunk of the systemic arteries. Mediastinum and Great Vessels: Anatomy is involved.
    • Mitral valve Mitral valve The valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart. Heart: Anatomy repair or replacement is recommended for:
      • Severe mitral regurgitation Mitral regurgitation Mitral regurgitation (MR) is the backflow of blood from the left ventricle (LV) to the left atrium (LA) during systole. Mitral regurgitation may be acute (myocardial infarction) or chronic (myxomatous degeneration). Acute and decompensated chronic MR can lead to pulmonary venous congestion, resulting in symptoms of dyspnea, orthopnea, and fatigue. Mitral Regurgitation
      • Progressive left ventricular dilation or systolic dysfunction Systolic dysfunction Dilated Cardiomyopathy

Ocular

Differential Diagnosis

  • Homocystinuria: autosomal recessive Autosomal recessive Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal recessive diseases are only expressed when 2 copies of the recessive allele are inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance disorder of homocysteine metabolism. Affected individuals have marfanoid body habitus and ectopia lentis, characterized by a downward and inward dislocation. Individuals may also have intellectual disability Disability Determination of the degree of a physical, mental, or emotional handicap. The diagnosis is applied to legal qualification for benefits and income under disability insurance and to eligibility for social security and workman’s compensation benefits. ABCDE Assessment, megaloblastic anemia Megaloblastic anemia Megaloblastic anemia is a subset of macrocytic anemias that arises because of impaired nucleic acid synthesis in erythroid precursors. This impairment leads to ineffective RBC production and intramedullary hemolysis that is characterized by large cells with arrested nuclear maturation. The most common causes are vitamin B12 and folic acid deficiencies. Megaloblastic Anemia, and thrombotic events (strokes and myocardial infarction Myocardial infarction MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction). Measurement of homocysteine levels aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS in diagnosis. Management is via a low-methionine diet and vitamin supplementation. 
  • Ehlers-Danlos syndrome Ehlers-Danlos syndrome Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (EDS) is a heterogeneous group of inherited connective tissue disorders that are characterized by hyperextensible skin, hypermobile joints, and fragility of the skin and connective tissue. Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome: an autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology disorder affecting collagen Collagen A polypeptide substance comprising about one third of the total protein in mammalian organisms. It is the main constituent of skin; connective tissue; and the organic substance of bones (bone and bones) and teeth (tooth). Connective Tissue: Histology. The syndrome has 13 subtypes, and the inheritance pattern can be autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance or recessive. The cardiovascular system, musculoskeletal system, eyes, and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions are affected. Easy bruising Easy bruising Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome or bleeding and dental abnormalities are also seen. The syndrome is a clinical diagnosis, but genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies may be beneficial. Management is symptomatic and based on manifestations. 
  • Loeys-Dietz syndrome: an autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance connective tissue Connective tissue Connective tissues originate from embryonic mesenchyme and are present throughout the body except inside the brain and spinal cord. The main function of connective tissues is to provide structural support to organs. Connective tissues consist of cells and an extracellular matrix. Connective Tissue: Histology disorder with similar presentation to MFS but affecting a different gene Gene A category of nucleic acid sequences that function as units of heredity and which code for the basic instructions for the development, reproduction, and maintenance of organisms. Basic Terms of Genetics. Unlike MFS, features of hypertelorism Hypertelorism Abnormal increase in the interorbital distance due to overdevelopment of the lesser wings of the sphenoid. DiGeorge Syndrome (widely spaced eyes), split uvula Uvula A fleshy extension at the back of the soft palate that hangs above the opening of the throat. Peritonsillar Abscess, cleft palate Cleft palate Congenital fissure of the soft and/or hard palate, due to faulty fusion. Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate, easy bruising Easy bruising Chédiak-Higashi Syndrome, keloid formation, and arterial tortuosity are present. Vascular features may be more aggressive, with aortic aneurysms seen at an early age. Genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies can help differentiate between Loeys-Dietz syndrome and MFS. Management is similar to MFS.
  • Multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia Multiple endocrine neoplasia syndromes are autosomal dominant inherited conditions characterized by 2 or more hormone-producing tumors involving the endocrine organs. There are different types of MEN, namely MEN1-4. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, type 2B ( MEN 2B MEN 2b Similar to men2a, it is also caused by mutations of the men2 gene, also known as the ret proto-oncogene. Its clinical symptoms include medullary carcinoma of thyroid gland and pheochromocytoma of adrenal medulla (50%). Unlike men2a, men2b does not involve parathyroid neoplasms. It can be distinguished from men2a by its neural abnormalities such as mucosal neuromas on eyelids; lip; and tongue, and ganglioneuromatosis of gastrointestinal tract leading to megacolon. It is an autosomal dominant inherited disease. Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia): an autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance syndrome associated with medullary thyroid carcinoma Medullary Thyroid Carcinoma Thyroid Cancer, pheochromocytoma Pheochromocytoma Pheochromocytoma is a catecholamine-secreting tumor derived from chromaffin cells. The majority of tumors originate in the adrenal medulla, but they may also arise from sympathetic ganglia (also referred to as paraganglioma). Symptoms are associated with excessive catecholamine production and commonly include hypertension, tachycardia, headache, and sweating. Pheochromocytoma, oral mucosal neuromas Mucosal Neuromas Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia, and intestinal ganglioneuromas Intestinal Ganglioneuromas Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia. Affected individuals also have a marfanoid body habitus with skeletal abnormalities; however, the cardiovascular system and eyes are usually not affected. Genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies helps in diagnosis. Surgery is required to remove the neoplasms Neoplasms New abnormal growth of tissue. Malignant neoplasms show a greater degree of anaplasia and have the properties of invasion and metastasis, compared to benign neoplasms. Benign Bone Tumors
  • Congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis contractural arachnodactyly: also known as Beals syndrome. An autosomal dominant Autosomal dominant Autosomal inheritance, both dominant and recessive, refers to the transmission of genes from the 22 autosomal chromosomes. Autosomal dominant diseases are expressed when only 1 copy of the dominant allele is inherited. Autosomal Recessive and Autosomal Dominant Inheritance condition affecting the fibrillin-2 protein. Affected individuals also have a marfanoid body habitus and cardiovascular manifestations. Flexion Flexion Examination of the Upper Limbs contractures Contractures Prolonged shortening of the muscle or other soft tissue around a joint, preventing movement of the joint. Wound Healing in many joints restrict movement. The skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions is not affected. The condition is diagnosed with clinical criteria and genetic testing Genetic Testing Detection of a mutation; genotype; karyotype; or specific alleles associated with genetic traits, heritable diseases, or predisposition to a disease, or that may lead to the disease in descendants. It includes prenatal genetic testing. Myotonic Dystrophies. Management is based on the clinical manifestations. 

References

  1. Wright, M.J. & Connolly, H.M. (2016). Genetics, clinical features, and diagnosis of Marfan syndrome and related disorders. UpToDate. Retrieved December 7, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/genetics-clinical-features-and-diagnosis-of-marfan-syndrome-and-related-disorders
  2. Marfan Syndrome. MedlinePlus. https://medlineplus.gov/genetics/condition/marfan-syndrome/
  3. Wright, M.J. & Connolly, H.M. (2020). Management of Marfan syndrome and related disorders. UpToDate. Retrieved December 8, 2020, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/management-of-marfan-syndrome-and-related-disorders
  4. Inna, P. (2020). Marfan syndrome (MFS). In Thomson, J.D. (Ed.), Medscape. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from https://emedicine.medscape.com/article/1258926-overview?src=ppc_google_rlsa-traf_mscp_emed_t1_us
  5. Pessler, F. (2020). Marfan syndrome. [online] MSD Manual Professional Version. Retrieved December 11, 2020, from https://www.msdmanuals.com/professional/pediatrics/connective-tissue-disorders-in-children/marfan-syndrome

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