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Marfan syndrome in children and adolescents: an adjusted nomogram for screening aortic root dilatation
  1. Lieke Rozendaala,
  2. Maarten Groeninka,
  3. Mies S J Naeffb,
  4. Raoul C M Hennekamc,
  5. Augustinus A M Hartd,
  6. Ernst E van der Walle,
  7. Barbara J M Muldera
  1. aDepartment of Cardiology, Academic Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, bDepartment of Paediatric Cardiology, cDepartment of Paediatrics and Institute for Human Genetics, dDepartment of Epidemiology, eDepartment of Cardiology, Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands
  1. Dr Mulder, Department of Cardiology (Rm A2-325), Academic Medical Centre, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


Objective To construct an adjusted nomogram for the echocardiographic screening of aortic root diameter in children with possible Marfan disease.

Design In 91 children (42 boys, 49 girls, age range 3.2 to 18.4 years) undergoing Marfan screening from 1983 until 1996, the diagnosis Marfan syndrome and any other aortic pathology was definitely ruled out. These served as a control population to set appropriate reference standards.

Results Compared with a standard Dutch reference population, body surface area of the control subjects (mean (SD)) was above the 50th centile (boys 0.09 (0.20) m2, range −0.28 to 0.69 m2; girls 0.09 (0.17) m2, range −0.17 to 0.69 m2). Echocardiographically determined aortic root diameter and body surface area showed a linear relation and a greater variability of aortic root diameter in these relatively tall subjects (n = 91,R 2 = 0.62) than in the standard nomogram (n = 56, R 2 = 0.93). In 24% of cases (n = 22), the aortic root exceeded the upper limit of normal in the standard nomogram, by 2.2 (2.0) mm. An adjusted nomogram was constructed with a higher upper limit.

Conclusions A Marfan screening population differs from the unselected population in body surface area and aortic root size variability. An adjusted nomogram should therefore be used to detect a truly enlarged aortic root.

  • Marfan syndrome
  • aorta
  • nomogram
  • children

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