Marfan syndrome is an inherited condition that damages the connective tissues in your heart and blood vessels. As a result, people who have Marfan syndrome are more prone to aneurysms (weak spots in your blood vessels that bulge or burst) and heart valve disease.
To help people with Marfan syndrome live well and thrive, Aurora Health Care established the Center for Marfan and Aortic Disorders in Milwaukee.
This center allows us to provide personalized, easy access to many specialists during one visit. You can see cardiologists, cardiac and vascular surgeons, genetic counselors, ophthalmologists and orthopedic surgeons.
Marfan syndrome results from a defect in a gene that helps your body create strong, elastic connective tissue, including tissue in the heart.
In about 75% of cases, the Marfan gene is inherited from a parent. In the remaining 25%, an abnormal gene develops on its own.
People with Marfan syndrome have a 50% chance of passing the gene on to their children.
Sometimes, the signs of Marfan syndrome are so mild they are hardly noticeable. Other times, symptoms can result in complications that can threaten your life, especially as you age.
People with Marfan syndrome are often tall and thin, with long limbs and other distinctive physical features. Other signs of Marfan syndrome may include:
Marfan syndrome causes a wide variety of health complications. Many of these affect the heart valves and blood vessels, which is why we created our center for comprehensive care.
The most serious complications may involve your heart valves or your aorta, the major artery supplying your body with blood. As a result, Marfan can lead to:
Marfan syndrome can also cause other complications.
These may include eye complications:
Symptoms affecting other parts of the body may include:
Marfan syndrome can cause a variety of symptoms, and diagnosis is not always simple. Our goal is to correctly diagnose the condition as early as possible, so you can receive treatment to help you live well.
Along with performing a complete physical exam, your health care provider will ask you about your symptoms and your family’s health history. Depending on your symptoms, diagnosis may include:
Learn more about heart and vascular diagnosis and testing at Aurora.
Currently there is no known cure for Marfan syndrome. Because symptoms vary dramatically from person to person, treatment is very individualized.
Medical advice may include:
For people whose Marfan syndrome causes heart-related conditions, we provide the complete range of available cardiac treatments. These treatments may include:
Learn more about cardiovascular surgery.