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NORD is very grateful to Raymond A. Clarke, PhD, Associate Professor, Department of Medicine, University of Western Sydney, Australia, for assistance in the preparation of this report.
Synonyms of Klippel-Feil Syndrome
- cervical vertebral fusion
- congenital cervical synostosis
- isolated Klippel-Feil syndrome
- Klippel-Feil syndrome, type I
- Klippel-Feil syndrome, type II
- Klippel-Feil syndrome, type III
Klippel-Feil syndrome (KFS) is a rare skeletal disorder primarily characterized by abnormal union or fusion of two or more bones of the spinal column (vertebrae) within the neck (cervical vertebrae). Some affected individuals may also have an abnormally short neck, restricted movement of the head and neck, and a low hairline at the back of the head (posterior hairline). The disorder is present at birth (congenital), but mild cases may go undiagnosed until later during life when symptoms worsen or first become apparent.
In some individuals, KFS can be associated with a variety of additional symptoms and physical abnormalities. These may include abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and/or vertebral instability, spina bifida occulta, raised scapula (Sprengel's deformity), absent rib(s) and other rib defects including cervical ribs, other skeletal abnormalities including skeletal malformations of the ear, nose, mouth and larynx including hearing impairment and cleft palate, malformations of the head and facial (craniofacial) area; anomalies of the urinary tract and/or kidney including absent or horse-shoe kidney; or structural abnormalities of the heart (congenital heart defects), mirror movements, webbing of the digits and digital hypoplasia. In addition, in some cases, neurological complications may result due to associated spinal cord injury.
KFS may occur as an isolated abnormality or in association with certain syndromes. In many individuals with KFS, the condition appears to occur randomly for unknown reasons (sporadically). In other cases, KFS may be inherited as an autosomal dominant or autosomal recessive trait. Researchers have determined that some cases of KFS are associated with mutations of the GDF6 gene on chromosome 8.
Klippel-Feil Syndrome Resources
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