Ritscher-Schinzel cranio-cerebello-cardiac (3C) syndrome: report of four new cases and review

Am J Med Genet. 2001 Aug 15;102(3):237-42.


Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome, also known as the 3C syndrome, is a rare, autosomal recessive syndrome characterized by craniofacial, cerebellar, and cardiac anomalies. Cardiac manifestations include ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect, tetralogy of Fallot, double outlet right ventricle, hypoplastic left heart, aortic stenosis, pulmonic stenosis and other valvular anomalies. Central nervous system anomalies include Dandy-Walker malformation, cerebellar vermis hypoplasia and enlargement of the cisterna magna. Craniofacial abnormalities seen are cleft palate, ocular coloboma, prominent occiput, low-set ears, hypertelorism, down-slanting palpebral fissures, depressed nasal bridge and micrognathia. Dandy-Walker malformation, posterior fossa cyst, hydrocephalus and congenital heart defect are common malformations that may occur in isolation or as a part of many syndromes. Accurate genetic diagnosis and counseling require detailed analysis of the external as well as the internal anatomy and knowledge of the relative frequencies of various malformations in syndromes that may have overlapping clinical signs. We have had the opportunity recently to study four cases of the Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome. A review of all reported cases is presented and an attempt made to define the minimum diagnostic criteria for the Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome. Of the nine craniofacial anomalies commonly reported as a part of the Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome, we consider two i.e., cleft palate and ocular coloboma, to be readily and objectively ascertainable. The other seven craniofacial traits, however, are somewhat subjective, require expert interpretation and are sometimes difficult to ascertain in a newborn or stillborn fetus. These are prominent forehead, prominent occiput, hypertelorism, down-slanting palpebral fissures, low-set ears, depressed nasal bridge and micrognathia. At least four of these were present in all cases that had a secure diagnosis of the Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome. Thus, the criteria we propose to establish the diagnosis of the Ritscher-Schinzel syndrome in a chromosomally normal sporadic case are the presence of cardiac malformation other than isolated patent ductus arteriosus, cerebellar malformation, and cleft palate or ocular coloboma or four of the following seven findings: prominent forehead, prominent occiput, hypertelorism, down-slanting palpebral fissures, low-set ears, depressed nasal bridge, and micrognathia.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / genetics
  • Abnormalities, Multiple / pathology
  • Cerebellum / abnormalities*
  • Craniofacial Abnormalities / pathology*
  • Fatal Outcome
  • Female
  • Fetal Death
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Syndrome