Interrelationships of the hemifacial microsomia-VATER, VATER, and sirenomelia phenotypes

Am J Med Genet. 1993 Aug 1;47(1):75-84. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320470116.


The phenotypes of hemifacial microsomia-VATER, VATER, and sirenomelia patients suggest a sequence of overlapping developmental abnormalities. The malformations of 247 hemifacial microsomia (HFM) patients with one or more anomalies in other body regions were analyzed and compared with those of 255 VATER and 101 sirenomelia patients studied in the same fashion. The HFM patients were analyzed in four subgroups delineated by the number of their concomitant VATER ascertainment abnormalities (VAA). Three or more VAA occurred in 33 HFM patients who were designated to have the HFM-VATER phenotype and while no significant alteration of the HFM phenotype was found, there were notable differences in the analyses of the 20 malformation categories studied. Analyzed in separate heart and blood vessel (BV) categories, occurrences of BV defects in HFM patients with 0-1 VAA were low (4-6%) and due to anomalies other than single umbilical arteries (SUA). The BV abnormalities increased to 20% in the HFM with two VAA, HFM-VATER, and VATER phenotypes with equal occurrences of SUA and other BV anomalies. The incidence of SUA was markedly increased (64%) in the sirenomelia. Heart defects rose from 22% to 40% with the increasing VAA in individual HFM patients but were less in VATER (29%) and sirenomelia (21%) patients and were attributed to complex, conotruncal, and other early embryonic anomalies. Unilateral agenesis of paired organs systems occurred frequently and, possibly, can be attributed to an absent blood supply. Each phenotype of the sequence also had increased VAA, rib/vertebrae hypersegmentation, and monozygotic twinning. The variation in the incidences of malformations in the three phenotypes can be attributed to their relative location in the craniocranial organogenesis sequence of normal human embryologic development.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Abnormalities, Multiple / embryology*
  • Anus, Imperforate
  • Ectromelia / embryology*
  • Esophageal Atresia
  • Facial Asymmetry / embryology*
  • Heart Defects, Congenital / embryology
  • Humans
  • Kidney / abnormalities
  • Phenotype
  • Spine / abnormalities
  • Syndrome
  • Tracheoesophageal Fistula / congenital