Phenotypic features and impact of beta blocker or calcium antagonist therapy on aortic lumen size in the Marfan syndrome
Genetic Predisposition to Disease
Systematic, prospective data regarding phenotypic features, including echocardiographic findings, in pediatric patients with the Marfan syndrome are lacking. In addition, limited and conflicting information exists regarding the impact of pharmacologic therapy on aortic growth rate in children. Fifty-three children and adolescents with the Marfan syndrome underwent physical examination, anthropometric evaluation, and echocardiography. The relation of pharmacologic therapy to aortic growth rate was examined in the 44 subjects in whom serial echocardiograms were recorded. Although boys and girls did not differ in ocular, skeletal, or cardiovascular manifestations, aortic dilatation tended to be more common in boys (86% vs 72%). Children with aortic dilatation at baseline (42 of 53 or 79%) were more likely to also have scoliosis and mitral prolapse (both p <0.005). The medicated patients had slower aortic growth than the unmedicated patients with regard to both absolute aortic growth rate (p <0.01) and aortic growth rate adjusted for age and body size (p <0.005). Nevertheless, major cardiovascular complications developed in 5 patients despite long-term pharmacologic therapy. In conclusion, beta-blocker and calcium antagonist therapy retards aortic growth rate in children and adolescents with the Marfan syndrome.