Congenital diaphragmatic defects and associated syndromes, malformations, and chromosome anomalies: a retrospective study of 60 patients and literature review

Am J Med Genet. 1998 Sep 23;79(3):215-25.


Congenital diaphragmatic defects (CDDs) may occur in malformation syndromes of varied causes. Syndromic cases of CDDs due to chromosomal defects, autosomal recessive, autosomal dominant, or X-linked inheritance have been described. In order to determine the frequency and nature of syndromes, malformations, and chromosome abnormalities associated with CDDs, we reviewed the records of all patients with CDDs evaluated over a 4-year period. During the 4-year interval, a total of 60 patients was evaluated. Of these, 29 had a therapeutic or spontaneous abortion, and 31 received postnatal care. On prenatal ultrasonography, 20 of 60 (33%) of patients with CDDs had additional anomalies. Additional anomalies, besides CDDs, were present in 15 of 31 (48%) of liveborn patients on newborn evaluation. In total, 16 patients with multiple anomalies were evaluated. Of these, 12 of 16 (75%) had additional abnormalities detected by prenatal ultrasonography. The 4 of 16 (25%) without additional anomalies on prenatal sonography had multiple anomalies found neonatally, lethal multiple pterygium syndrome being diagnosed in one case. Prenatal chromosome analysis was performed in 7 of 16 patients, and all had postnatal karyotypes. All initial karyotypes were normal. Tetrasomy 12p was documented on postnatal fibroblast analysis in one case who had percutaneous umbilical blood sampling (PUBS). Syndromes diagnosed postnatally in 7 of 16 patients (44%) include: Fryns syndrome (2), Simpson-Golabi-Behmel syndrome (2), tetrasomy 12p (1), Brachmann-de Lange syndrome (1), and lethal multiple pterygium syndrome (1). We were unable to make a specific diagnosis in 9 of 16 patients (56%) with multiple malformations. In patients with CDDs, a normal prenatal karyotype, especially if obtained by PUBS, and absence of other detected abnormalities by fetal ultrasonography, do not exclude the presence of other major anomalies, including chromosome abnormalities and severe multiple malformation syndromes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chromosome Aberrations / diagnosis
  • Chromosome Aberrations / genetics*
  • Chromosome Disorders
  • Diaphragm / abnormalities*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Newborn, Diseases / genetics
  • Pregnancy
  • Prenatal Diagnosis
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Syndrome
  • Ultrasonography, Prenatal