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Down Syndrome Effects

Down Syndrome Effects: Congenital Heart Disease

Approximately half of the children with Down syndrome have congenital heart disease and associated early onset of pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs.
Common congenital heart problems include:
  • Tetralogy of Fallot
  • Persistent ductus arteriosus
  • Atrial septal defect
  • Ventricular septal defect.
An echocardiogram may be recommended to identify any congenital heart disease. If the heart defects have been identified before the onset of pulmonary hypertension, surgery may provide favorable results.

Down Syndrome Effects: Eye Problems

Strabismus (crossed or misaligned eyes), glaucoma, and cataracts can affect people with Down syndrome. Cataracts occur in approximately 3 percent of children with Down syndrome, but can be surgically removed.

Down Syndrome Effects: Seizure Disorders

Seizure disorders, though less common than some of the other associated medical conditions, still affect between 5 percent and 13 percent of individuals with the condition, a tenfold greater incidence than in the general population. There is an unusually high incidence of infantile spasms or seizures in children less than 1 year of age, some of which are precipitated by neonatal complications and infections and cardiovascular disease. However, these seizures can be treated with medications.
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