Multidisciplinary Management of Rett Syndrome: Twenty Years' Experience

Genes (Basel). 2023 Aug 11;14(8):1607. doi: 10.3390/genes14081607.


Over the last 20 years, the understanding and natural history of Rett syndrome has advanced, but to date no cure has emerged, with multidisciplinary management being symptomatic and supportive. This study provides a comprehensive review of the clinical features, comorbidities and multidisciplinary management of a well-characterized cohort of females with classical Rett syndrome. We aim to improve awareness and understanding of Rett syndrome amongst pediatricians, pediatric subspecialists and allied health professionals to enable early diagnosis and a streamlined enrolment approach for future clinical trials. Rett syndrome, a complex X-linked condition, affecting mainly females, is due to pathogenic variants of the MECP2 gene in most affected individuals. The Rett syndrome Multidisciplinary Management clinic at The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia, was established in 2000. This retrospective analysis of individuals who attended the clinic from 2000 to 2020 was performed to identify the incidence and predicted age of onset of Rett syndrome related comorbidities, disease progression and to review management principles. Data collected included age of Rett syndrome diagnosis, MECP2 genotype, clinical features and medical comorbidities, such as sleep disturbance, seizures, breathing irregularities, scoliosis, mobility, hand stereotypies, hand function, constipation, feeding ability, use of gastrostomy, communication skills, QTc prolongation, anthropometry, and bruxism. Analysis of 103 girls who fulfilled the clinical diagnostic criteria for classical Rett syndrome with a pathogenic variant of the MECP2 gene showed a median age of diagnosis of 3 years. The most frequent MECP2 variant was c.502 C>T.

Keywords: MECP2; Rett syndrome; clinical trials; diagnosis; multidisciplinary management.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Constipation
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Rett Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Rett Syndrome* / genetics
  • Rett Syndrome* / therapy
  • Scoliosis*
  • Seizures

Grants and funding

This research received no external funding.