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Cri du chat syndrome

Definition

Cri du chat syndrome is a group of symptoms that result from missing a piece of chromosome number 5. The syndrome’s name is based on the infant’s cry, which is high-pitched and sounds like a cat.

Alternative Names

Chromosome 5p deletion syndrome; 5p minus syndrome; Cat cry syndrome

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Cri du chat syndrome is rare. It happens when genetic information on chromosome 5 is missing. One missing piece, called TERT (telomerase reverse transcriptase) is involved in control of cell growth, and may play a role in how some of the features of this syndrome develop.

Most cases are believed to occur during the development of the egg or sperm. A minority of cases result from one parent carrying a rearrangement of chromosome 5 called a translocation and passing this on to the baby.

This syndrome may account for up to 1% of individuals with severe mental retardation.

Symptoms

Signs and tests

In addition to symptoms, the physical examination may show:

Genetic tests can show a missing part of chromosome 5. Skull x-ray may reveal an abnormal angle to the base of the skull.

Treatment

No specific treatment is available for this syndrome. The mental retardation must be addressed, and counseling is recommended for the parents.

Parents of a child with this syndrome should have genetic counseling and a karyotype test to determine if one parent has a rearrangement of chromosome 5.

Support Groups

5p- Society -- www.fivepminus.org

Expectations (prognosis)

What can be expected varies, but mental retardation is usual. Half of children with Cri du chat syndrome learn sufficient verbal skills to communicate. The cat-like cry becomes less apparent over time.

Complications

Complications depend on the extent of mental retardation and physical abnormalities. Complications may include:

  • Inability to care for self
  • Inability to function in society

Calling your health care provider

This is a diagnosis that is generally made in the hospital at birth. Your health care provider will discuss your baby's signs and symptoms with you. When you leave the hospital, it's important to maintain regular contact with your health care provider and other caregivers. Genetic counseling and testing is recommended for all persons with a family history of this syndrome.

Prevention

There is no known prevention. Couples with a family history of this syndrome who wish to become pregnant may consider genetic counseling.

References

Descartes M, Carroll AJ. Cytogenetics. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 18th Ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 81.

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    Review Date: 8/26/2009

    Review By: Chad Haldeman-Englert, MD, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Department of Pediatrics, Section on Medical Genetics, Winston-Salem, NC. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

    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. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

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