Natural history study of adults with Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome 1: Case series of personally observed 35 individuals

Agatino Battaglia, Amanda Lortz, John C. Carey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome (WHS) is a contiguous gene disorder, clinically delineated by prenatal and postnatal growth deficiency, distinctive craniofacial features, intellectual disability, and seizures. The disorder is caused by partial loss of material from the distal portion of the short arm of chromosome 4 (4p16.3). Although more than 300 persons with WHS have been reported in the literature, there is sparse, if any, long-term follow-up of these individuals and thus little knowledge about course and potential further complications and health risks during adulthood and advanced age. This study attempted to assess medical conditions and function of adult individuals with WHS. It was one component of a two-part investigation on adults with WHS. The other part of the study is the patient-reported outcomes study reported elsewhere. About 35 individuals with WHS (26 females; nine males), aged between 19 and 55 years were recruited. About 25 individuals were personally observed at the IRCCS Stella Maris Foundation by A.B. and followed up between 5 and 20 years; and 10 were recruited from the 4p-Support Group, The United States. Of note, 23/35 (66%) are close to total care. About 11 out of 35 (31%) were partly self-independent, requiring supervision on certain daily routines, and 1 out of 35 (3%) was fully independent. However, a positive perspective is given by the overall good health enjoyed by the 66% of our cohort of individuals. Overall, quality of life and level of function into adulthood appear to be less critical than anticipated from previous studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1794-1802
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics, Part A
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021


  • 4p-syndrome
  • adults with Wolf–Hirschhorn syndrome
  • deletion 4p
  • monosomy 4p
  • natural history
  • quality of life

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Genetics(clinical)


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