Marfan Syndrome

Marfan syndrome is a congenital disorder that affects connective tissue. These tissues are the ones that offer support to tendons, ligaments, blood vessel walls, cartilage, heart valves, and other tissues. Marfan syndrome causes the affected tissues to be less stiff and supportive than they should be. This disorder can range from mild deformities to severe disabling disease.

Individuals who are diagnosed with Marfan syndrome have some similar characteristics, including:

•    Heart problems
•    Tall, thin stature
•    Long arms and legs
•    Slender fingers
•    Spine curvature
•    Eye problems

In the case of Marfan syndrome, the artery walls are weakened. The aorta—the large artery that leaves the heart—often becomes enlarged causing the inner wall to weaken, which can cause the aorta to tear and/or dissect.

Individuals living with Marfan syndrome have an increased possibility of developing an aneurysm—a ballooning out of a blood vessel, which can cause clots or rupture. It can also involve the heart valves, causing blood to regurgitate through a valve. Thus, increasing the heart’s workload and causing the affected area of the heart to enlarge.

Treatments for Marfan syndrome vary depending on the severity of the disease and the affected areas of the heart. People with mild symptoms may not require any treatment beyond a routine check-up with their doctor.

Seek counsel from your doctor for more information about Marfan syndrome.