Navigate Up

Pediatric Center - A-Z Index

#
Q
Z

Print This Page

Aicardi syndrome

Aicardi syndrome is a rare disorder passed down through families (inherited) in which the structure that connects the two sides of the brain (called the corpus callosum) is partly or completely missing.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

The cause of Aicardi syndrome is unknown at this time. In some cases, experts believe it may be a result of a gene defect on the X chromosome.

The disorder affects only girls.

Symptoms

Symptoms usually start when the child is between ages 3 and 5 months. The condition causes jerking (infantile spasms), a type of childhood seizure.

Aicardi syndrome may occur with other brain defects.

Other symptoms may include:

Signs and tests

Children are diagnosed with Aicardi syndrome if they meet the following criteria:

  • Corpus callosum that is partly or completely missing
  • Female sex
  • Seizures (typically beginning as infantile spasms)
  • Sores on the retina (retinal lesions) or optic nerve

In rare cases, one of these features may be missing (especially lack of development of the corpus callosum).

Tests to diagnose Aicardi syndrome include:

Other procedures and tests may be done, depending on the person.

Treatment

Treatment is supportive. It involves managing seizures and any other health concerns, and using programs to help the family and child cope with delays in development.

Support Groups

Aicardi Syndrome Foundation - www.aicardisyndrome.org

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) - www.rarediseases.org

Expectations (prognosis)

The outlook depends on how severe the symptoms are and what other health conditions are present.

Nearly all children with this syndrome have severe learning difficulties and remain completely dependent on others. However, a few have some language abilities and some can walk on their own or with support. Vision varies from normal to blind.

Complications

Complications depend on the severity of symptoms.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if your child has symptoms of Aicardi syndrome. Seek emergency care if the infant is having spasms or a seizure.

References

Glasmacher MA, Sutton Vr, Hopkins B, Eble T, Lewis RA, Park Parsons D, et al. Phenotype and management of Aicardi syndrome: new findings from a survey of 69 children. J Child Neurol. 2007;22:176-184.

Kinsman SL, Johnston MV. Agenesis of the corpus callosum. In: Kliegman RM, Behrman RE, Jenson HB, Stanton BF, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 19th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 585.8.

Updated: 8/1/2012

Neil K. Kaneshiro, MD, MHA, Clinical Assistant Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.


©  UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.

© UPMC
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com