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Familial incidence and associated symptoms in a population of individuals with nonsyndromic craniosynostosis.



Craniosynostosis is a common cranial malformation occurring in 1 per 2,000-2,500 births. Isolated defects (nonsyndromic) occur in ~75% of cases and are thought to have multifactorial etiology. It is believed that each suture synostosis is a distinct disease, with varying phenotypes and recurrence rates.


We analyzed family histories of 660 mutation-negative nonsyndromic craniosynostosis patients and symptoms in 189 of these patients.


The incidence rate of craniosynostosis was highest for first-degree relatives of probands with metopic craniosynostosis (6.4%), followed by those with complex craniosynostosis (4.9%), sagittal craniosynostosis (3.8%), lambdoid craniosynostosis (3.9%), and coronal craniosynostosis (0.7%). Across all suture types, siblings had a greater craniosynostosis incidence rate than parents (7.5 vs. 2.3%). In phenotype comparisons, patients with complex craniosynostosis had the highest frequency of reported symptoms and those with sagittal craniosynostosis had the lowest. Ear infections, palate abnormalities, and hearing problems were more common in complex craniosynostosis patients. Visual problems were more common in coronal craniosynostosis, and metopic craniosynostosis patients noted increased frequency of chronic cough.


Our data suggest that the genetic component of nonsyndromic craniosynostosis appears to be suture specific. The incidence rate of craniosynostosis among first-degree relatives varies by suture and family member. Additionally, the phenotype of each suture synostosis shows both unique and shared features.

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