Vacterl syndrome is a rare syndrome that occurs in embryos and fetuses. This syndrome is characterized by abnormalities of the anus, vertebrae, cardiovascular system and the trachea. Other abnormalities occur with the esophagus, renal system and limb buds, which are associated with the use of sex hormones during early pregnancy. Vacterl syndrome often occurs with other birth defects as well, including Edwards syndrome. It's commonly seen in children who have a diabetic mother.
Vacterl syndrome is named after the symptoms and abnormalities it produces. The V stands for the abnormality of the vertebrae bone and spine, and the A stands for the abnormalities that often occur with the anus. The C in the syndrome name stands for the cardiovascular defects that can occur, and the T stands for tracheoesphageal fistula. The E in Vacterl stands for the esophageal atresia, and the R stands for the renal abnormalities. Finally, the L stands for the limb abnormalities, which can mean the absent, displaced or other abnormalities that can occur from the syndrome.
When an infant with Vacterl syndrome is born, it’s not uncommon for the baby to only have one umbilical artery instead of two. The infants often have difficulty growing and gaining weight. It’s common for the infants to have a low birth weight. In most cases, an infant is born with multiple symptoms of this syndrome, but they can vary in severity.
Treatment for Vacterl syndrome involves treating each symptom and abnormality separately. Surgery is often needed to correct some of the abnormalities that may occur. Depending on the severity of the abnormalities, life expectancy is promising and a relatively normal life can be achieved.