What is Edwards syndrome? Edwards syndrome is a genetic condition in babies that causes severe disability. It is caused by an extra copy of chromosome 18 and babies born with the condition usually do not survive for much longer than a week.
Decreased muscle tone (hypotonia). Low-set ears. Internal organs forming or functioning differently (heart and lungs). Issues with cognitive development (intellectual disabilities), which are typically severe.
If a baby has Edwards' syndrome, they have inherited an extra copy of chromosome 18. This extra copy can be present in some or all of the baby's cells and can lead to health problems for the baby. In full form Edwards' syndrome, the baby has inherited a complete extra copy of chromosome 18.
Edwards' syndrome affects how long a baby may survive. Sadly, most babies with Edwards' syndrome will die before or shortly after being born. A small number (about 13 in 100) babies born alive with Edwards' syndrome will live past their 1st birthday.
Trisomy 18 occurs at a rate of 1 in 2000-6000 live births. It is somewhat more common as the mother ages but can occur randomly to parents of any age. Most babies affected are girls. There is no known cause of Trisomy 18.
But the only definite way to diagnose Edwards syndrome is through genetic testing. This can be done while the baby is in the womb using chorionic villus sampling (CVS) or amniocentesis. Both these tests have a risk of miscarriage. You can talk to your obstetrician or midwife about this.
In the United States, the overall prevalence of Edwards syndrome is approximately 1 in 2500, and liveborn prevalence is 1 in 8600.  The prevalence is higher in females compared to males (3:2).
It is well known that the extra chromosome 21 originates from the mother in more than 90% of cases, the incidence increases with maternal age and there is a high recurrence in young women.
Babies with trisomy 18 tend to be small, so their movements are correspondingly hard to detect. Babies with trisomy 18 tend to have significantly reduced movements compared to babies with typical chromosomes.
around 1 baby in every 5000 births has Edwards' syndrome - it's the second most common chromosomal condition. around 1 baby in every 16,000 births has Patau's syndrome.
Trisomy 18, also called Edwards syndrome, is a chromosomal condition associated with abnormalities in many parts of the body. Individuals with trisomy 18 often have slow growth before birth (intrauterine growth retardation) and a low birth weight.
Medical complications usually include serious heart, breathing and feeding problems. Brain function is also affected. Given the very low survival rates, Elaine's 25-year life, is indeed something that must be celebrated. She was known to have been the longest survivor of Edward's Syndrome in the world.
Most babies with trisomy 18 will have abnormal ultrasound findings during pregnancy. These findings might be seen in the first trimester, but they are more commonly seen during a second trimester ultrasound. There are also genetic tests for trisomy 18 during pregnancy.
Most children born with Trisomy 18 will have heart defects. Other significant health concerns may include defects in the structure and functioning of various internal organs, including the lungs, kidneys, stomach and intestines. Some will have malformations of the head, neck, face, eye, ears, hands, feet and spine.
A screening test for Down's syndrome, Edwards' syndrome and Patau's syndrome is available between weeks 10 and 14 of pregnancy. It's called the combined test because it combines an ultrasound scan with a blood test. The blood test can be carried out at the same time as the 12-week scan.
Current supplementation policies designed to prevent neural tube defects may incidentally prevent Down's syndrome, provided a sufficiently high dose of folic acid is used.
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A recent study suggests that a 20-year-old father doubles the chance of Down syndrome as compared to one who's 40.
Edwards syndrome is rare. In Australia, about seven pregnancies in every 10,000 are diagnosed with Edwards syndrome (Abeywardana and Sullivan 2008).
The oldest recorded life span of a person with Trisomy 18 is twenty-seven years. Although Trisomy 18 does not affect individuals based on his or her race, 80 percent of cases occur in females.
Around 1 in every 5,000 babies is diagnosed with Trisomy 18, also known as Edwards syndrome.
Prevention of Edward's Syndrome:
Most types of Edward's syndrome cases are not hereditary. So, they cannot be prevented. To date, there is no scientific evidence as to what a parent could have done to cause or prevent trisomy 18 in their baby. So, this is a chromosomal error that is considered to be random.
The combined first trimester screening test can identify a pregnancy with increased chance of Down syndrome (trisomy 21) and Edward syndrome (trisomy 18). This test involves the pregnant woman having a blood test between 9 and 13 weeks gestation, and an ultrasound between 11 and 13 weeks gestation.
The risk of having a second Trisomy 18 pregnancy is estimated to be around 1%. Also, a woman's chances for a trisomy pregnancy mostly depend on her age. For example, a 25 year old mother has around a 1 in 10,000 chance of having a Trisomy 18 pregnancy. At 45 years old, that risk goes up to 50 in 10,000.
Some of the major and minor structural anomalies associated with trisomy 18 can be observed in the first trimester11-13, however the sensitivity of ultrasound examination is higher at the time of the 20-week scan11.