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Marfan syndrome in children and adolescents: predictive and prognostic value of aortic root growth for screening for aortic complications


Objective To assess and measure the diagnostic and prognostic value of individual aortic root growth in children and adolescents with Marfan syndrome.

Design From 1983 to 1996, 250 children were screened for Marfan syndrome. Serial echocardiographic aortic root measurements of 123 children (57 Marfan, 66 control) were available for evaluation of aortic root growth. Aortic root diameters were correlated with body surface area. Based on individual growth of the aortic root a discrimination formula was derived to distinguish Marfan patients from control subjects.

Results Sensitivity and specificity of this method, which were dependent on the number of measurements, were 84% and 73%, respectively, for three serial measurements. The discrimination score also predicted a five year complication free survival in all patients.

Conclusions In children and adolescents with Marfan syndrome, aortic root growth differs significantly from subjects in whom Marfan syndrome was definitely ruled out during screening. Measurement of individual aortic root growth may serve to establish diagnosis at an early stage and is of prognostic value for occurrence of aortic complications.

  • Marfan syndrome
  • aortic root growth
  • echocardiography
  • children
  • adolescents

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