Williams syndrome (WS) is a congenital disorder affecting the vascular, connective tissue, and central nervous systems of 1 in 8,000 live births. Previous reports have reported high frequencies of cardiovascular abnormalities (CVAs) in small numbers of patients with WS. A retrospective review was undertaken of patients with WS evaluated at our institution from January 1, 1980 through December 31, 2007. WS was diagnosed by an experienced medical geneticist and/or by fluorescence in situ hybridization. CVAs were diagnosed using echocardiography, cardiac catheterization, or computed tomographic angiography. Freedom from intervention was determined using Kaplan-Meier analysis. The study group was 270 patients with WS. The age at presentation was 3.3 +/- 5.9 years with follow-up of 8.9 +/- 9.0 years (range 0 to 56.9). CVAs were present in 82% of the patients. The most common lesions were supravalvar aortic stenosis in 45% and peripheral pulmonary stenosis in 37%; 20% had both. Other common lesions included mitral valve prolapse and regurgitation in 15%, ventricular septal defect in 13%, and supravalvar pulmonary stenosis in 12%. Surgical or catheter-based interventions were performed in 21%. The rate of freedom from intervention was 91%, 81%, 78%, 72%, and 62% at 1, 5, 10, 20, and 40 years. Eight patients died. In conclusion, CVAs are common in patients with WS, but supravalvar aortic stenosis and peripheral pulmonary stenosis occurred less frequently in this large cohort than previously reported. In patients with WS and CVAs, interventions are common and usually occur by 5 years of age. Most patients with WS do not require intervention during long-term follow-up, and the overall mortality has been low.
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