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 ::  Abstract
 ::  Introduction
 ::  Methods
 ::  Results
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Year : 1992  |  Volume : 38  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 180-2

Wildervanck syndrome (cervico-oculo-acoustic syndrome).

Dept of Paediatrics, Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Bombay, Maharashtra.

Correspondence Address:
G Gupte
Dept of Paediatrics, Seth GS Medical College, Parel, Bombay, Maharashtra.

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 0001307589

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 :: Abstract 

Wildervanck syndrome i.e. cervico (Klippel-Feil anomalad) -oculo (Duane-Stilling-Turk phenomenon with bilateral abducens palsy)-acoustic (deafness) is a rare syndrome. We report here 4 cases diagnosed as Wildervanck syndrome and analyse their findings. One patient had an an atrial septal defect. Such association of congenital heart disease with Wildervanck syndrome has not been reported previously.

Keywords: Abnormalities, Multiple, diagnosis,genetics,pathology,Case Report, Child, Deafness, congenital,diagnosis,genetics,Eye Abnormalities, diagnosis,genetics,pathology,physiopathology,Eye Movements, Female, Human, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Klippel-Feil Syndrome, complications,diagnosis,genetics,pathology,Male, Syndrome,

How to cite this article:
Gupte G, Mahajan P, Shreenivas V K, Kher A, Bharucha B A. Wildervanck syndrome (cervico-oculo-acoustic syndrome). J Postgrad Med 1992;38:180

How to cite this URL:
Gupte G, Mahajan P, Shreenivas V K, Kher A, Bharucha B A. Wildervanck syndrome (cervico-oculo-acoustic syndrome). J Postgrad Med [serial online] 1992 [cited 2020 Jun 6];38:180. Available from:

  ::   Introduction Top

Wildervanck syndrome (cervico-oculo-acoustic syndrome) comprises: (1)  Klippel-Feil anomalad More Details (fused neck vertebrae with limitation of head movement often associated with spina bifida cervicalis), (2) retractio bulbi (Duane-Stilling-Turk-syndrome) and (3) congenital sensorineural, conductive or mixed deafness. Although cases have been previously reported in the literature without considering this constellation of signs to be a syndrome, it was first described as a nosologic and genetic entity by Wildervanck in 1952[1],[2]. As with many syndromes, the triad need not always be complete[1],[2].

Cases have been described in literature. This report describes four cases from our Genetic Clinic, constituting the first series to be reported from this country.

  ::   Methods Top

The referred cases of short neck with deafness were approached in the following manner: 1. recording of a detailed history, height and weight percentiles and upper segment to lower segment ratio, 2. clinical examination including eye examination and fundoscopy 3. brain-stem evoked response auditory (BERA), X-rays of the cervical spine and ultrasonography of the abdomen. Karyotype was done in one of the patients to exclude Turner syndrome. 2D ECHO was done on one patient as a murmur was detected on clinical examination. Developmental assessment was done by the clinical psychologist. The major clinical features of the four patients were tabulated and studied.

  ::   Results Top

The results are shown in the [Table - 1].

Of the four patients, two had the complete triad, while two had Klippel-Feil anomala-d with Duane's phenomenon [Figure - 1]. BERA was not done in Case 2, as the child was lost to follow-up. Facial asymmetry was found in two patients, while mental retardation was found in one.

  ::   Discussion Top

Two unusual findings found in the 4 patients studied above are: (1) presence of bilateral cervical ribs in Case 3, and (2) presence of an associated congenital heart disease i.e. atrial septal defect in Case 4. The association of congenital heart disease with  Klippel-Feil syndrome More Details has been described in literature[3]. No previous report about the association of congenital heart disease with Wildervanck Syndrome has been described. Such finding in our case may be coincidental as it has not been described in previous reports or may be an extended part of the syndrome.

There is a gradual transition in the clinical features between incomplete and complete forms of Wildervanck syndrome. Only a third of patients with the Klippel-Feil anomalad have hearing impairment and this may be purely conductive, sensorineural or both[4],[5].

Radiological evaluation by cranial tomography on one or both sides can be done to ascertain the presence of cochlea, vestibulum, semicircular canals and internal auditory meatus[2]. Radiological examination of the petrous bones will not help in diagnosis, but will assist considerably in defining the nature of the defect[2]. Tomography done in two of the four patients in this series did not reveal major defects except for constriction of the internal auditory meatus in Case 3. MRI done in one case described in the literature revealed marked cerebellar and brain stem atrophy with basilar invagination[6].

Pseudopapilledema was an unusual feature in the two cases of Wildervanck syndrome, reviewed by Kirkham[7], leading to the conclusion that routine examination of the fundus should be done in every case of cervico-oculo-acoustic syndrome. The presence of pseudopapilledema has been thought to be an extension of the genetic defect responsible for the condition[7],[8].

There is a consensus about the mode of inheritance of Wildervanck syndrome, but all agree that genetic factors are involved. Autosomal dominant inheritance with incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity has been suggested [8],[9]. Further, the gene would be partly sex limited acting on a polygenic background, which is modified by sex, rendering females more susceptible than males to action of the gene[10]. An environ-mental aetiology, due to a vascular disruption sequence during embryonic development has been noted in Klippel-Feil anomaiad as in Moebius and Poland sequences. A combination of defects (Kiippel-Feil and Moebius) could induce the more complex phenotype observed in Wildervanck syndrome[11].

Wildervanck concluded that polygenic inheritance with limitation to females is most likely[1],[8].[9]. McKusick agrees with this view[12]. Three of the four patients in our series were females. The syndrome is considered to be lethal in males. The lone male patient in this series was seen at 3 days of age and did not follow up subsequently.

The Klippel-Feil Syndrome may overlap with many features of Turner and Noonan syndromes, but the Wildervanck syndrome is the most common multiple congenital abnormality found in association with Duane syndrome. Turner syndrome was indirectly excluded in two of the three females patients by demonstrating normal ovaries on ultrasonography; while karyotype done in the third was 46XX Noonan syndrome was excluded in the association of the Duane phenomenon with Klippel-Feil anomalad.

The handicaps in the syndrome remain stationary throughout life and apparently do not influence the life span. Patients with deafness may need a hearing aid[1],[1].

  ::   Acknowledgment Top

We wish to thank Dr PM Pai, Dean, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai for granting permission to publish this data.

 :: References Top

1. Wildervanck LS. The cervico-oculo-acousticus syndrome. In: Vinken PJ, Bruyn GW, Myrianthopoulous NC, editors. Congenital Malformations of the Spine and Spinal Cord. Handbook of Clinical Neurology, vol 32. New York: North Holland Publishing Co; 1978, pp 123-130.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Wilervanck LS, Hoeksema PE, Penning L. Radiological examination of the inner ear of deaf mutes presenting as the cervico-oculo- acoustious syndrome. Acta Otolaryngol 1966; 61:445-453.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Masuda H, Arikawa K, Yucia T, Taira A. Total anomalous pulmonary venous connection associated with Klippeil-Feil Syndrome: a case report. Kyobu Geka 1991; 44:417-420.  Back to cited text no. 3    
4.Cremers CWRJ, Hoogland CA, Kuypers W. Hearing loss in cervico-oculo-acousticus syndrome. (Wildervanck syndrome) Arch Otolaryngol 1984; 110:54-57.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Dannilidis J, Demetriadis A, Triaridis C. Otological findings in cervico-oculo-auditory dysplasia. J Laryngol Otol 1980; 94:533-544.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Hughes PJ, Davies PT, Roche SW, Mathews TD, Lane RJ. Wildervanck or cervico-oculo-acousticus syndrome and MRI findings. J Neurol Neurosurg, Psychiatry 1991; 54:503-504.  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Kirkhan TH. Cervico-oculo-acousticus syndrome with pseudopapilledema. Arch Dis Child 1969; 44:504-508.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Kirkhan TH. Inheritance of Duane's syndrome. Br J Ophthalmol 1970; 54: 323-329.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Konigsmark BW, Gorlin RJ. Genetic hearing loss associated with museuioskeletal abnormalities. In: Genetic and Metabolic Deafness, 1st ed. Philadelphia: WB Saunders; 1976, pp 188-192.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Goodman RM, Gorlin RJ. Atlas of the Face in Genetic Disorders, 2nd ed. St Louis: CV Mosby Co; 1977; pp 534-535.  Back to cited text no. 10    
11.Corsello G, Carcione A, Castro IL, GiufWe L. Cervico-oculo- acousticus Wildervanck's syndrome: a clinical variant of Klippeil-Feil Sequence? Klin Padiatr 1990; 220:176-179.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.McKusick VA. Mendelian inheritance in man. In: Catalog of Autosomal Dominant, Autosomal Recessive and X Linked Phenotypes, 6th ed. London: John Hopkins University Press; 1983, pp 1105 (Ref no 31460).   Back to cited text no. 12    


[Figure - 1]


[Table - 1]

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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
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