Supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) is a congenital narrowing of the ascending aorta which can occur sporadically, as an autosomal dominant condition, or as one component of Williams syndrome. SVAS is caused by translocations, gross deletions and point mutations that disrupt the elastin gene (ELN) on 7q11.23. Functional hemizygosity for elastin is known to be the cause of SVAS in patients with gross chromosomal abnormalities involving ELN. However, the pathogenic mechanisms of point mutations are less clear. One hundred patients with diagnosed SVAS and normal karyotypes were screened for mutations in the elastin gene to further elucidate the molecular pathology of the disorder. Mutations associated with the vascular disease were detected in 35 patients, and included nonsense, frameshift, translation initiation and splice site mutations. The four missense mutations identified are the first of this type to be associated with SVAS. Here we describe the spectrum of mutations occurring in familial and sporadic SVAS and attempt to define the mutational mechanisms involved in SVAS. SVAS shows variable penetrance within families but the progressive nature of the disorder in some cases, makes identification of the molecular lesions important for future preventative treatments.