Psychology Wiki

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Clinical: Approaches · Group therapy · Techniques · Types of problem · Areas of specialism · Taxonomies · Therapeutic issues · Modes of delivery · Model translation project · Personal experiences ·

Patau syndrome
Classification and external resources

Chromosome 13
ICD-10 Q914-Q917
ICD-9 758.1
DiseasesDB 13373
MedlinePlus 001660
eMedicine article/947706

Patau syndrome /ˈpæt/ is a syndrome caused by a chromosomal abnormality, in which some or all of the cells of the body contain extra genetic material from chromosome 13. This can occur either because each cell contains a full extra copy of chromosome 13 (a disorder known as trisomy 13 or trisomy D), or because each cell contains an extra partial copy of the chromosome (i.e., Robertsonian translocation) or because of mosaic Patau syndrome. Full trisomy 13 is caused by nondisjunction of chromosomes during meiosis (the mosaic form is caused by nondisjunction during mitosis). The extra genetic material from chromosome 13 disrupts the normal course of development, causing multiple and complex organ defects. Like all nondisjunction conditions (such as Down syndrome and Edwards syndrome), the risk of this syndrome in the offspring increases with maternal age at pregnancy, with about 31 years being the average.[1] Patau syndrome affects somewhere between 1 in 10,000 and 1 in 21,700 live births.[2]


Patau's syndrome is most often the result of trisomy 13, meaning each cell in the body has three copies of chromosome 13 instead of the usual two. A small percentage of cases occur when only some of the body's cells have an extra copy; such cases are called mosaic Patau.

Patau syndrome can also occur when part of chromosome 13 becomes attached to another chromosome (translocated) before or at conception in a Robertsonian translocation. Affected people have two copies of chromosome 13, plus extra material from chromosome 13 attached to another chromosome. With a translocation, the person has a partial trisomy for chromosome 13 and often the physical signs of the syndrome differ from the typical Patau syndrome.

Most cases of Patau syndrome are not inherited, but occur as random events during the formation of reproductive cells (eggs and sperm). An error in cell division called non-disjunction can result in reproductive cells with an abnormal number of chromosomes. For example, an egg or sperm cell may gain an extra copy of the chromosome. If one of these atypical reproductive cells contributes to the genetic makeup of a child, the child will have an extra chromosome 13 in each of the body's cells. Mosaic Patau syndrome is also not inherited. It occurs as a random error during cell division early in fetal development.

Patau syndrome due to a translocation can be inherited. An unaffected person can carry a rearrangement of genetic material between chromosome 13 and another chromosome. This rearrangement is called a balanced translocation because there is no extra material from chromosome 13. Although they do not have signs of Patau syndrome, people who carry this type of balanced translocation are at an increased risk of having children with the condition.

Manifestations and physical findings


A 37 2/7 week gestational age male infant with Patau syndrome demonstrating polydactyly

Of those fetuses that do survive to gestation and subsequent birth, common abnormalities may include:

  • Musculoskeletal and cutaneous
    • Polydactyly (extra digits)
    • Low-set ears[3]
    • Prominent heel
    • Deformed feet known as rocker-bottom feet
    • Omphalocele (abdominal defect)
    • Abnormal palm pattern
    • Overlapping of fingers over thumb
    • Cutis aplasia (missing portion of the skin/hair)
    • Cleft palate
  • Other
    • Heart defects (ventricular septal defect)
    • Single umbilical artery[4]


Diagnosis is usually based on clinical findings, although fetal chromosome testing will show trisomy 13. While many of the physical findings are similar to Edward's syndrome there are a few unique traits, such as polydactyly. However, unlike Edward's syndrome and Down syndrome, the quad screen does not provide a reliable means of screening for this disorder. This is due to the variability of the results seen in fetuses with Patau.[5]

Recurrence risk

Unless one of the parents is a carrier of a translocation the chances of a couple having another trisomy 13 affected child is less than 1% (less than that of Down syndrome).


Trisomy 13 was first observed by Thomas Bartholin in 1657,[6] but the chromosomal nature of the disease was ascertained by Dr. Klaus Patau in 1960.[7] The disease is named in his honor.

In England and Wales during 2008–09 there were 172 diagnoses of Patau's syndrome (trisomy 13), with 91% of diagnoses made prenatally. There were 111 elective abortions, 14 stillbirth/miscarriage/fetal deaths, 30 outcomes unknown, and 17 live births. Approximately 4% of Patau's syndrome with unknown outcomes are likely to result in a live birth, therefore the total number of live births is estimated to be 18.[8] The small percentage of babies with the full Patau's syndrome who survive birth and early infancy may live to adulthood, and children with mosaic or partial forms of this trisomy may have a completely different and much more hopeful prognosis.[How to reference and link to summary or text]


Medical management of children with Trisomy 13 is planned on a case-by-case basis and depends on the individual circumstances of the patient. Treatment of Patau syndrome focuses on the particular physical problems with which each child is born. Many infants have difficulty surviving the first few days or weeks due to severe neurological problems or complex heart defects. Surgery may be necessary to repair heart defects or cleft lip and cleft palate. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy will help individuals with Patau syndrome reach their full developmental potential. Surviving children are described as happy and parents report that they enrich their lives.[9]


More than 80% of children with Patau syndrome die within the first year of life.[10]


  1. Prevalence and Incidence of Patau syndrome. Diseases Center-Patau Syndrome. Adviware Pty Ltd.. URL accessed on 2008-02-17.
  2. > Patau Syndrome (Trisomy 13) From Krissi Danielsson. Updated June 10, 2009
  3. H. Bruce Ostler (2004). Diseases of the eye and skin: a color atlas, 72, Lippincott Williams & Wilkins. URL accessed 13 April 2010.
  4. Trisomy 13: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. URL accessed on 2010-04-12.
  5. Callahan, Tamara L., and Aaron B. Caughey. Blueprints Obstetrics & Gynecology. Baltimore, MD: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2013.
  6. Who Named It synd/1024
  7. Patau K, Smith DW, Therman E, Inhorn SL, Wagner HP (1960). Multiple congenital anomaly caused by an extra autosome. Lancet 1 (7128): 790–3.
  8. National Down Syndrome Cytogenetic Register Annual Reports 2008/09.
  9. Janvier, Annie, Farlow, Wilfond (July 23, 2012). The experience of families with children with trisomy 13 and 18 in social networks.. Pediatrics 130 (2): 293–298.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to:
[[Commons: Category:Patau syndrome

| Patau syndrome