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Original Article
September 2000

Velocardiofacial Syndrome: Incidence of Immune Cytopenias

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Otolaryngology–Head and Neck Surgery (Drs Duke and McGuirt), Department Pediatrics and Section on Genetics (Dr Jewett), and the Department of Medicine and Infectious Diseases (Dr Fasano), Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, Winston-Salem, NC.

Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2000;126(9):1141-1145. doi:10.1001/archotol.126.9.1141

Background  Velocardiofacial syndrome (VCFS) is associated with a broad clinical spectrum that frequently overlaps the DiGeorge syndrome. Both have been linked to chromosomal microdeletions of chromosome 22 (22q11.2). DiGeorge syndrome is associated with T-cell dysfunction. What is the incidence of immune cytopenias in children with VCFS?

Objectives  To (1) identify, (2) characterize, (3) quantify, and (4) follow up the immunologic deficits in children initially seen in our institution with VCFS.

Design  Prospective clinical evaluation of patients with the features of VCFS.

Patients  Twenty consecutive children with the clinical diagnoses of VCFS.

Setting  Tertiary care children's hospital.

Main Outcome Measures  All 20 children had genetics evaluation with chromosomal analysis. Immunologic evaluations included serum immunoglobulin concentrations, lymphocyte studies, and mitogen and antigen stimulation studies.

Results  Five (25%) of 20 children were noted to have T-cell dysfunction with a clinical presentation marked by recurrent upper respiratory tract infections. Three of these 5 children had resolution of the T-cell dysfunction over a 2-year period. The 2 children with persistent cytopenias combined with immunoglobulin dysfunction required intravenous IgG infusions to control their infections.

Conclusions  Velocardiofacial syndrome is associated with an increased incidence of immune cytopenias and, thus, warrants evaluation in any child with the clinical diagnosis of VCFS. This immune deficit may be transient and depends on the age of the evaluation of the child.