Marfan Syndrome

Marissa Carter

How a Child Gets Marfan Syndrome

Marfan Syndrome is an inherited disease. If one or both parents think they might have it, they need to talk to their doctor immediately to see if their child has a chance of developing it.

Characteristics and Symptoms

Characteristics

  • Is very tall and thin
  • Has loose, flexible joints
  • Has long arms, legs, fingers and toes
  • Has flat feet
  • Has a long, narrow face
  • Has teeth that are too crowded
  • Has a high roof of the mouth



Symptoms

Marfan syndrome can weaken blood vessels and tissue around the heart and stretch and weaken the walls of the aorta. This can cause the aorta to tear or burst (called aortic dissection), which can be life-threatening.

Marfan syndrome also can cause problems in the heart’s mitral valve. This valve controls some of the heart’s blood flow. Tiny flaps in the mitral valve keep the blood flowing in one direction. Marfan syndrome can cause the flaps to be large and floppy, which keeps them from closing properly. When this happens, blood can leak backwards during a heartbeat. This condition is called mitral valve prolapse; it may cause an irregular or fast heartbeat and breathing problems.

Treatment

Sometimes providers recommend treatment with blood pressure medicines to help the heart beat more slowly and with less force. Surgery may be needed if the wall of the aorta keeps getting weaker. Surgery also can repair or replace heart valves that are not working right.

If your child has an artificial heart valve, she may need to take antibiotics before going to the dentist. Antibiotics are medicines that kill infections caused by bacteria. Teeth cleaning, fillings and other dental work can put bacteria into the blood, which can cause a heart infection. Antibiotics can help prevent these infections.

Life Expectancy

With the right treatment and care, people with Marfan Syndrome can live as long as people without it.

Important Facts About Marfan Syndrome

  1. Marfan Syndrome can cause blood vessel, heart, eye, and bone problems for a child.
  2. Children that have Marfan Syndrome are more at risk for scoliosis.
  3. About 1 in 4 children don't inherit Marfan Syndrome, but develop it in the womb.