About CHARGE SYNDROMETaken from Chargesyndrome.org
CHARGE syndrome is a recognizable (genetic) pattern of birth defects which occurs in about one in every 9-10,000 births worldwide. It is an extremely complex syndrome, involving extensive medical and physical difficulties that differ from child to child. The vast majority of the time, there is no history of CHARGE syndrome or any other similar conditions in the family. Babies with CHARGE syndrome are often born with life-threatening birth defects, including complex heart defects and breathing problems. They spend many months in the hospital and undergo many surgeries and other treatments. Swallowing and breathing problems make life difficult even when they come home. Most have hearing loss, vision loss, and balance problems which delay their development and communication. All are likely to require medical and educational intervention for many years. Despite these seemingly insurmountable obstacles, children with CHARGE syndrome often far surpass their medical, physical, educational, and social expectations.Continued research is needed to help us understand the medical and developmental challenges facing individuals with CHARGE. Better understanding will lead the way to interventions, therapies and educational strategies which can help people with CHARGE syndrome overcome many of the obstacles in their lives.
One of the hidden features of CHARGE syndrome is the determination and strong character these children display.
History of the name "CHARGE"The name "CHARGE" was a clever way (in 1981) to refer to a newly recognized cluster of features seen in a number of children. Over the years, it has become clear that CHARGE is indeed a syndrome and at least one gene causing CHARGE syndrome has been discovered (see below). The letters in CHARGE stand for: Coloboma of the eye, Heart defects, Atresia of the choanae, Retardation of growth and/or development, Genital and/or urinary abnormalities, and Ear abnormalities and deafness. Those features are no longer used in making a diagnosis of CHARGE syndrome, but we're not changing the name.
Major Features of CHARGE Syndrome (very common in CHARGE and relatively rare in other conditions)
|Coloboma of the eye||Coloboma (sort of like a cleft) of the iris, retina, choroid, macula or disc (not the eyelid); microphthalmos (small eye) or anophthalmos (missing eye): CAUSES VISION LOSS||80%-90%|
|Choanal atresia or stenosis||The choanae are the passages that go from the back of the nose to the throat. They can be narrow (stenosis) or blocked (atresia). It can be unilateral (one-sided) or bilateral (both sides), bony or membranous.|
Unilateral atresia or stenosis can be difficult to diagnose
|Cranial nerve abnormality||I - Missing or decreased sense of smell||90-100%|
|IX/X - Swallowing difficulties, aspiration||70%-90%|
|VII - Facial palsy (one side or both)||40%|
|CHARGE outer ear||Short, wide ear with little or no lobe, "snipped off" helix (outer fold), prominent antihelix (inner fold) which is discontinuous with tragus, triangular concha, decreased cartilage (floppy), often stick out, usually asymmetric||>50%|
|CHARGE middle ear||Malformed bones of the middle ear (ossicles): CAUSES CONDUCTIVE HEARING LOSS||Common|
|CHARGE inner ear||Malformed cochlea (Mondini defect); small or absent semicircular canals: CAUSE HEARING LOSS AND BALANCE PROBLEMS||90%|