Click here to return to the LMHS Home Page

 

Print-Friendly
Bookmarks

Trisomy 18

Edwards syndrome

 

Trisomy 18 is a genetic disorder in which a person has a third copy of material from chromosome 18, instead of the usual 2 copies.

Causes

 

Trisomy 18 occurs in 1 in 6,000 live births. It is 3 times more common in girls than boys.

The syndrome occurs when there is extra material from chromosome 18. The extra material affects normal development.

 

Symptoms

 

Symptoms may include:

  • Clenched hands
  • Crossed legs
  • Feet with a rounded bottom (rocker-bottom feet)
  • Low birth weight
  • Low-set ears
  • Mental delay
  • Poorly developed fingernails
  • Small head (microcephaly)
  • Small jaw (micrognathia)
  • Undescended testicle
  • Unusual shaped chest (pectus carinatum)

 

Exams and Tests

 

An exam during pregnancy may show an unusually large uterus and extra amniotic fluid. There may be an unusually small placenta when the baby is born. A physical exam of the infant may show unusual fingerprint patterns. X-rays may show a short breast bone.

Chromosome studies will show trisomy 18. The chromosome abnormality may be present in every cell or present in only a certain percentage of the cells (called mosaicism). Studies may also show part of the chromosome in some cells. Rarely, part of the chromosome 18 becomes attached to another chromosome. This is called translocation.

Other signs include:

  • Hole, split, or cleft in the iris of the eye (coloboma)
  • Separation between the left and right side of the abdominal muscle (diastasis recti)
  • Umbilical hernia or inguinal hernia

There are often signs of congenital heart disease, such as:

  • Atrial septal defect (ASD)
  • Patent ductus arteriosus (PDA)
  • Ventricular septal defect (VSD)

Tests may also show kidney problems, including:

  • Horseshoe kidney
  • Hydronephrosis
  • Polycystic kidney

 

Treatment

 

There are no specific treatments for trisomy 18. Which treatments are used depend on the person's individual condition.

 

Support Groups

 

Support groups include:

 

Outlook (Prognosis)

 

Half of infants with this condition do not survive beyond the first week of life. Nine out of 10 children will die by 1 year of age. Some children have survived to the teenage years, but with serious medical and developmental problems.

 

Possible Complications

 

Complications depend on the specific defects and symptoms.

 

When to Contact a Medical Professional

 

Genetic counseling can help families understand the condition, the risks of inheriting it, and how to care for the person.

 

Prevention

 

Tests can be done during pregnancy to find out if the child has this syndrome.

Genetic testing is recommended for parents who have a child with this syndrome and who want to have more children.

 

 

References

Bacino CA, Lee B. Cytogenetics. In: Kliegman RM, Stanton BF, St Geme JW III, Schor NF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 20th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 81.

BACK TO TOPText only

 
  • Syndactyly

    Syndactyly

    illustration

    • Syndactyly

      Syndactyly

      illustration

    Tests for Trisomy 18

     
       

      Review Date: 8/1/2015

      Reviewed By: Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, FACMG, Fullerton Genetics Center, Asheville, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

      The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
      adam.com

       
       
       

       

       

      A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Firefox and Google Chrome browser.