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Musculoskeletal diseases in Marfan syndrome: a nationwide registry study

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BACKGROUND: Marfan syndrome is associated with abnormalities in the musculoskeletal system including scoliosis, pectus deformities, protrusio acetabuli, and foot deformities. Over a life span, many patients with Marfan syndrome will need treatment; however, the musculoskeletal morbidity over a life span is not well described. The aim of the present study was to assess the overall burden of musculoskeletal disease in patients with Marfan syndrome.

MATERIALS AND METHODS: A registry-based, nationwide epidemiological study of patients with a Ghent II verified Marfan syndrome diagnosis from 1977 to 2014. Each patient was matched on age, and sex with up to 100 controls from the background population.

RESULTS: We identified 407 patients with Marfan syndrome and 40,700 controls and compared their musculoskeletal diagnoses and surgical treatments using Cox proportional hazards ratio (HR). The risk of a registration of a musculoskeletal diagnosis in patients with Marfan syndrome was significantly increased compared to controls (HR: 1.94 (1.69-2.24). One out of six with Marfan syndrome was registered with scoliosis (HR: 36.7 (27.5-48.9). Scoliosis was more common in women with Marfan syndrome compared to men (HR: 4.30 (1.73-1.08)). One out of 11 were registered with a pectus deformity HR: 40.8 (28.1-59.3), and one out of six with a deformity of the foot. Primarily pes planus (HR: 26.0 (15.2-44.3). The proportion of patients with Marfan syndrome (94/407) that underwent musculoskeletal surgery was also significantly higher (HR: 1.76 (1.43-2.16)). The major areas of surgery were the spine, pectups correction, and surgery of the foot/ankle. Ten patients with Marfan syndrome had elective orthopedic surgery without being recognized and diagnosed with Marfan syndrome until later in life. None of these had scoliosis, pectus deformity or a foot deformity. Among patients with an aortic dissection, the age at dissection was 34.3 years in those with at least one major musculoskeletal abnormality. In patients without a major abnormality the age at dissection was 45.1 years (p < 0.01).

CONCLUSIONS: The extent of musculoskeletal disease is quite significant in Marfan syndrome, and many will need corrective surgery during their life span. Surgeons should be aware of undiagnosed patients with Marfan syndrome when treating patients with a Marfan syndrome like-phenotype.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
JournalOrphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Volume17
Number of pages10
ISSN1750-1172
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

© 2022. The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Inherited disease, Marfan syndrome, Musculoskeletal abnormalities, Orthopedic surgery, Pediatrics, Spine

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