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    Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome

    Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is a congenital (present from birth) growth disorder that causes large body size, large organs, and other symptoms.

    Causes

    The cause of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome is unknown, but it may be genetic. Most cases are associated with a defect in chromosome number 11.

    Infancy can be a critical period because of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), omphalocele (when present), and an increased rate of tumor development. Wilm's tumor and adrenal carcinoma are the most common tumors in patients with this syndrome.

    Symptoms

    • Abdominal wall defect: umbilical hernia or omphalocele
    • Creases in ear lobes
    • Enlargement of some organs and tissues
    • External ear (pinna) abnormalities and low-set ears
    • Large size for a newborn (large for gestational age)
    • Large, prominent eyes
    • Large tongue, sometimes protruding
    • Lethargy
    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
    • Mild microcephaly
    • Poor feeding
    • Separated abdominal muscles (diastasis recti)
    • Seizures
    • Undescended testicles (cryptorchidism)

    Exams and Tests

    The signs of Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome include:

    • A ridge in the forehead caused by premature closure of the bones (metopic ridge)
    • Enlarged fontanelle (soft spot)
    • Enlarged kidneys, liver, and spleen
    • Large size (90th percentile)
    • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)

    Tests for Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome include:

    • Blood tests for low sugar and other abnormalities
    • Chromosomal studies for abnormalities in chromosome 11
    • MRI or CT scan of the abdomen
    • Ultrasound of the abdomen
    • X-ray of the abdomen
    • X-ray of the long bones

    Treatment

    Infants with low blood sugar may be treated fluids given through a vein (intravenous solutions).

    Defects in the abdominal wall may need to be repaired. The child must be watched closely for the development of tumors.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    Children with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome who survive infancy do well, although no long-term follow-up information is available. Mental development appears to be normal to very slightly decreased. Swelling of the tongue can cause problems with feeding and sleeping.

    Possible Complications

    When to Contact a Medical Professional

    If you have a child with Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome and worrisome symptoms develop, call your pediatrician immediately.

    Prevention

    There is no known prevention for Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome. Genetic counseling may be of value for families who would like to have additional children.

    References

    Cohen P, Hosono H. Hyperpituitarism, tall stature, and overgrowth syndromes. In: Kliegman, RM, Behrman RE, St. Geme III JW, Schor NF, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 554.

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      A Closer Look

        Self Care

          Tests for Beckwith-Wiedemann syndrome

            Review Date: 5/10/2013

            Reviewed By: Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

            The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
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