Marfan syndrome: clinical diagnosis and management

Eur J Hum Genet. 2007 Jul;15(7):724-33. doi: 10.1038/sj.ejhg.5201851. Epub 2007 May 9.


Marfan syndrome is a multisystem connective tissue disorder usually associated with mutation in fibrillin, and occasionally with mutation in TGFBR1 or 2. The clinical diagnosis is made using the Ghent nosology, which will unequivocally diagnose or exclude Marfan syndrome in 86% of cases. Use of a care pathway can help implementation of the nosology in the clinic. The penetrance of some features is age dependent, so the nosology must be used with caution in children. Molecular testing may be helpful in this context. The nosology cannot be used in families with isolated aortic dissection, or with related conditions such as Loeys-Dietz syndrome, although it may help identify families for further diagnostic evaluation because they do not fulfill the nosology, despite a history of aneurysm. Prophylactic medical (eg beta-blockade) and surgical intervention is important in reducing the cardiovascular complications of Marfan syndrome. Musculoskeletal symptoms are common, although the pathophysiology is less clear--for example, the correlation between dural ectasia and back pain is uncertain. Symptoms in other systems require specialist review such as ophthalmology assessment of refractive errors and ectopia lentis. Pregnancy is a time of increased cardiovascular risk for women with Marfan syndrome, particularly if the aortic root exceeds 4 cm at the start of pregnancy. High-intensity static exercise should be discouraged although low-moderate intensity dynamic exercise may be beneficial. The diagnosis and management of Marfan syndrome requires a multidisciplinary team approach, in view of its multisystem effects and phenotypic variability.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Eye Diseases / etiology
  • Female
  • Fibrillins
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Marfan Syndrome / diagnosis*
  • Marfan Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Marfan Syndrome / therapy*
  • Microfilament Proteins / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications / physiopathology


  • Fibrillins
  • Microfilament Proteins