CHARGE syndrome is a well-characterized clinical diagnosis with recent data supporting a genetic etiology. A 3-year national surveillance coordinated by the Canadian Pediatric Surveillance Program (CPSP) was started in September 2001. Physicians notified the CPSP if they had cared for individuals with CHARGE syndrome within their practice, and then completed a detailed reporting form. To date, there are 77 confirmed cases of CHARGE syndrome. The highest provincial prevalence of CHARGE syndrome in Canada was estimated at 1 in 8,500 live births. Subgroups of cases with particular clusters of anomalies were identified. In older individuals, bilateral posterior choanal atresia (BPCA) was predictive of the presence of the three other major criteria and of aortic arch anomalies. Individuals with CHARGE syndrome who demonstrated a less extensive phenotype (<or=3 major criteria) were more likely to present with minor cardiovascular malformations, including small atrial or ventricular septal defects (VSD) or patent ductus arteriosus (PDA). A significant cause of morbidity was severe feeding difficulty, including problems with chewing, swallowing, and gastroesophageal reflux, which were prevalent throughout childhood. Infant mortality is high in individuals with CHARGE syndrome. However, life expectancy has improved for those surviving their first year. Increased mortality was associated with distinct cardiovascular malformations or ventriculomegaly combined with brainstem or cerebellar anomalies. From this study, revised diagnostic criteria are proposed for infants, children, and adolescents to help identify a group of individuals who represent CHARGE syndrome with more of the classical features as apposed to the boarder association.
Copyright (c) 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.