Biallellic variants in CACNA1S cause fetal akinesia sequence, progressive hydrops and stillbirth

Prenat Diagn. 2023 Dec;43(13):1678-1681. doi: 10.1002/pd.6471. Epub 2023 Dec 18.


Fetal arthrogryposis is a well-recognised ultrasonographic phenotype, caused by both genetic, maternal and extrinsic factors. When present with fetal growth restriction, pulmonary hypoplasia and multiple joint contractures, it is often referred to as fetal akinesia deformation sequence (FADS). Historically, elucidating genetic causes of arthryogryposis/FADS has been challenging; there are now more than 150 genes known to cause arthrogryposis through myopathic, neuromuscular and metabolic pathways affecting fetal movement. FADS is associated with over 400 medical conditions making prenatal diagnosis challenging. Here we present a case of FADS diagnosed at 19 weeks gestation with progression to severe fetal hydrops and stillbirth at 26-weeks gestation. Initial investigations including combined first trimester screening, TORCH (infection) screen and chromosomal microarray were normal. Trio whole exome sequencing (WES) detected compound heterozygous likely pathogenic CACNA1S gene variants associated with autosomal dominant (AD) and autosomal recessive (AR) congenital myopathy and FADS. To our knowledge, this is the first prenatal diagnosis of this condition.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arthrogryposis* / diagnosis
  • Arthrogryposis* / genetics
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type
  • Edema
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Stillbirth / genetics


  • CACNA1S protein, human
  • Calcium Channels, L-Type

Supplementary concepts

  • Pena Shokeir syndrome, type 1