Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Cardiovascular manifestations in 75 patients with Williams syndrome


Objective: The prevalence and types of various cardiovascular diseases in different age groups as well as the outcomes of cardiac surgery and other interventions were assessed in a population of 75 Williams syndrome (WS) patients aged 4 months to 76 years (median 22.7 years).

Study design: The diagnosis of WS was in each case confirmed by the clinical phenotype and by a FISH test showing elastin hemizygosity. Clinical and operative data were collected from all hospitals where the patients had been treated.

Results: Cardiovascular symptoms were evident in 35 of 75 (47%) WS children at birth. During follow up, 44 of 75 (53%) WS patients were found to have cardiovascular defects. Among them, the definitive diagnosis was made before 1 year of age in 23 (52%) infants, between 1 year and 15 years of age in 14 (32%) children, and older than 15 years of age in 7 (16%) adults. Multiple obstructive cardiovascular diseases were found in six infants. Supravalvular aortic stenosis (SVAS) was diagnosed in 32/44 (73%), pulmonary arterial stenosis (PAS) in 18/44 (41%), aortic or mitral valve defect in 5/44 (11 %) of cases, and tetralogy of Fallot in one (2%) case. Altogether, 17/44 (39 %) underwent surgery or intervention. Surgery was most frequently performed in the infant group (6% v 21% v 0%, p=0.004). After 1 year of age, seven patients underwent SVAS relief and two cases PAS relief. Postoperatively there was no mortality (median follow up time 6.9 years). Arterial hypertension was found in 55% of adults. In three adults, arterial vasculopathy was not diagnosed until necropsy.

Conclusions: Our data indicate the following in WS. Cardiac symptoms are common in neonates. Heart disease diagnosed in infancy frequently requires operation. After 1 year of age, PAS tends to improve and SVAS to progress. Life long cardiac follow up is necessary because of the risks of developing vasculopathy or arterial hypertension.

  • Williams syndrome
  • elastin vasculopathy
  • cardiovascular manifestations
  • supravalvular aortic stenosis
  • ASD, atrial septal defect
  • CMP, cardiomyopathy
  • CoA, coarctation of the aorta
  • LPA, left branch of pulmonary artery
  • MPA, main pulmonary artery
  • PAS, pulmonary arterial stenosis
  • RPA, right branch of pulmonary artery
  • SVAS, supravalvular aortic stenosis
  • VSD, ventricular septal defect
  • TOF, tetralogy of Fallot
  • AS, aortic stenosis
  • AI, aortic insufficiency
  • MS, mitral stenosis
  • MI, mitral insufficiency
  • WS, Williams syndrome

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.