Vater Syndrome is one of those diseases that targets multiple areas of a child's body. The word "Vater," also known as VACTERL, is actually an acronym. It stands for vertebrae, anus, cardiac, tracheoesophageal fistula, renal, limb. This is because children suffering from Vater Syndrome usually have problems with three or more of the aforementioned elements of their respective bodies. Vater Syndrome is incredibly hard to trace simply because of the fact that a wide range of multiple complications fall under Vater Syndrome.
Yes, a child is said to have Vater Syndrome if they display at least three specific issues in those particular areas of the body. The anomalies associated with the vertebrae all have to do with an under developed spinal column and vertebrae that haven't fully grown. Almost seventy percent of children diagnosed with Vater Syndrome show this type of defect.
The main issue pertaining to a Vater Syndrome child's anus has to do with an anus that essentially doesn't open completely or at all. These issues are usually detected at birth and surgery is required almost immediately. Fifty-five percent of the children with Vater Syndrome show this particular anomaly.
Seventy-five percent of the children with Vater Syndrome have heart defects. Congenital heart disease brought on by ventricular and atrial septal defects are the most common. There are also lesser symptoms like a heart murmur. If the child shows signs of a murmur, doctors will test for congenital heart disease, especially when heart issues are coupled with some of the other problems listed here.
Tracheoesophageal fistula, or "TE," affects about seventy percent of the kids with Vater Syndrome. It can be an isolated defect, however. The issue here is that the child's windpipe and esophagus are constantly connected, making it hard for the child to feed or breath normally.
Kids with Vater Syndrome can also show issues with their renal (kidney) areas. Obstruction of urine or back flow is one of the symptoms. A child can run the risk of going septic if they can't expel the waste that the kidneys produce. The good news is that surgery can correct many of the problems brought on by kidney issues. Transplants are another option for this particular anomaly.
Finally, seventy percent of the children with Vater Syndrome show signs of radial agenesis. This means that their limbs and the extremities of those limbs have problems developing. An interesting fact here is that radial agenesis seems to be tied into the urologic issues. For example, if both kidneys are bad, it's common to see deformities in both sets of limbs (arms, legs and others). If one kidney is damaged, the side with the damaged kidney usually shows the defected limbs.