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Marfan syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder of connective tissue primarily affecting the skeletal system, eyes and cardiovascular system.

Marfan syndrome triad

Clinical features

  • General
    • Tall and thin
    • Scoliosis
  • Upper limbs
    • Arachnodactyly (ask them to wrap their fingers around their wrist)
    • Wide arm span
    • Hyperextensible joints
  • Face
    • Long thin face
    • Myopia/lens dislocation
    • High-arched palate
    • Chest and abdomen
    • Pectus carinatum/excavatum
    • Stretch marks
    • Auscultate heart for murmurs (especially aortic regurgitation)
  • Lower limbs
    • Long legs
    • Flat feet


  • Genetic tests ā€“ diagnostic


  • No cure
  • Symptomatic treatment
  • Prevention of and surveillance for complications
    • Multidisciplinary team regular check ups
    • Annual echocardiogram (to assess aortic root and heart valves)
    • 5-yearly MR/CT aorta (to asses whole aorta)
    • Ī²-blockers or angiotensin-II receptor antagonists (to prevent aortic dilatation)
    • Composite valve conduit/aortic root graft replacement or personalised external aortic root support (for aortic dilatation)
    • Regular eye examinations
  • Screening of family members

Test yourself!

What is the cause of Marfan syndrome?

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What are the possible complications?

Eyes: lens dislocation (50%), myopia
Weak thoracic aorta: aneurysms, dissection
Valves: aortic regurgitation, mitral prolapse/regurgitation

What conditions may cause joint hypermobility?

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