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Case Reports

Indian Pediatrics 2003; 40:888-890 

Fraser-Cryptophthalmos Syndrome with Cardiovascular Malformations: A Rare Association

Srinivas D. Hambire
Priyanka P. Bhavsar
Meenakshi B.*
Anagha V. Jayakar

From the Departments of Pediatrics and *Pathology, Topiwala National Medical College and BYL Nair Charitable Hospital, Mumbai 400 008, India.

Correspondence to: Dr. Priyanka P. Bhavsar, A/7 Chetan, Rajawadi Road, Ghatkopar (East), Mumbai 400 077, India. E-mail: priyankabhavsar@hotmail.com

Manuscript received: August 17, 2002; Initial review completed: October 22, 2002; Revision accepted: February 21, 2003.



Fraser-Cryptophthalmos syndrome is a multiple malformation disorder associated variably with cryptophthalmos(hidden eye), anomalies of the head, nose and ears; syndactyly, renal and genital malformations. In this report, we describe a case of Fraser syndrome with cardiovascular malformations: coarctation of aorta, an association not previously described.

Key words: Frazer-Cryptophthalmos syndrome, Cardiovascular malformations.


Fraser-Cryptophthalmos syndrome is an autosomal recessive(1), multiple malformation disorder; first described by Zehender and Manz(2) in 1872 and further delineated by Fraser(3). Cryptophthalmos (hidden eye) means failure of development of lid-folds which may be associated with anomalies of the head, nose and ears; syndactyly, renal and genital malformations. In this report, we describe a case of Fraser syndrome with cardiovascular malformations; including coarctation of aorta, an association not previously described.

Case Report

The preterm (30 weeks) male, was the third child born to nonconsanguinous Indian parents. The first was a full term normal child, three years old. The second was a full term home-delivered fresh stillbirth without history of obvious congenital malformations. Babyís birthweight was 1.7 kg, head circumference 30 cm, total length 41 cm, chest circumference 29 cm, abdominal girth 21 cm and upper segment: lower segment ratio of 1.38 : 1.

The face revealed absence of eyelids and eyebrow over the left eye (Fig. 1). It was completely covered with skin; the globe was palpable underneath. Right eye showed microphthalmia and enophthalmos. Nose was broad, flat with a depressed nasal bridge and a groove present bilaterally on the external nares. Ears were low set with nonpatency of the external auditory canal. There was microg-nathia, high arched palate and a cleft in the hard palate. Hands were flat, stubby with cutaneous syndactyly. Elbows showed presence of webs and limited extension. Genital examination showed rudimentary, empty scrotal sacs; with clinical patency of anal canal found upto 0.5 cm.

Fig. 1. Fraserís syndrome showing typical facial features and syndactyly.

Skeletal system revealed a right-sided thoracic spinal scoliosis and bilateral con-genital talipes equinovarus. Systemic examina-tion was unremarkable except hypotonia. Inspite of vigorous resuscitation the baby expired within one hour of life. Significant post-mortem findings included bilateral renal agenesis and cardiac malformations; viz., bifid apex, large atrioseptal defect, juxtaductal coarctation of the aorta, left superior vena cava draining into the coronary sinus and a patent ductus arteriosus.


Fraserís syndrome is a well delineated multiple malformation complex with a marked variability of expression. Thomas, et al.(4) reviewed 124 cases of cryptophthalmos in literature and assigned minimal diagnostic criteria to designate Fraserís syndrome. This included two major and one minor criteria or one major and four minor criteria for diagnosis. Major criteria include cryptophthalmos, syndactyly, abnormal genitalia, and a sibling with cryptophthalmos syndrome. Minor criteria comprise of anomalies of ear, nose or larynx, cleft lip and/or palate, skeletal defects, umbilical hernia, renal agenesis, and mental retardation.

Our patient definitely fulfilled two of the major criteria and five of the minor criteria. Regarding abnormal genitalia, empty scrotal sacs could be normal for the gestational age and there was a possible anal stenosis. Also, cause of stillbirth in the second sibling was not known. In addition, he also had cardiovascular mal-formations, which are unusual. Gattuso, et al.(5) reported dextrocardia; and their literature review reported 3 other cases having univentricular heart, atrial septal defect and ventricular septal defect. Ali, et al.(6) reported a newborn with Fraser syndrome, born of consanguinous Saudi parents, having cardiac malformations (TAPVR and pericardial effusion) diagnosed on fetal echocardiography. Our case had multiple cardiovascular mal-formations, including coarctation of aorta.

The pathogenesis of this syndrome appears to be related either to a failure of programmed cell necrosis(7) or a defect in the metabolism of retinoids(8). There is no treatment available if renal agenesis is present. Prognosis is excellent if cryptophthalmos is the main abnormality, but visual acuity is likely to be poor even after surgical correction. Although abnormalities of the ear are common, hearing is usually normal in many cases(5). Severe bilateral renal dysplasia or agenesis implies no prospect for survival. Also, cardiac malformations, as seen in our case, carry grave prognosis. Prenatal diagnosis includes a combination of ultrasound and fetoscopy(9), though prevention by genetic counseling would be the best approach.


The authors acknowledge and thank our Dean, Dr. S.A. Dahanukar for granting us permission to publish the case report.

Contributors: SDH contributed in data collection. PPB reviewed the literature, drafted the manuscript and will act as guarantor. MB contributed the autopsy diagnosis. AVJ helped in revision of the manuscript and final approval of the version submitted.

Funding: None.

Competing interests: None stated.




1. Jones KL. Fraser Syndrome. In: Smithís Recognizable Patterns of Human Malforma-tions, Ed. Jones KL. 5th edn. Philadelphia: WB Saunders Company 1997; pp. 242-243.

2. Zehender W. Eine Missgeburt mit hautveber-wachsenenn Augen Oder Kryptophthalmus. Klin Monatsbl Augenheilkd 1872; 10: 225- 249.

3. Fraser GR. Our genetic load: A review of some aspects of genetic variation. Ann Hum Genet 1962; 25: 387-415.

4. Thomas IT, Frias JL, Felix V, Leon SD, Hernandez RA, Jones MC. Isolated and syndromic cryptophthalmos. Am J Med Genet 1986; 25: 85-98,

5. Gattuso J, Patton MA, Baraitser M. The clinical spectrum of the Fraser syndrome: Report of three new cases and review. J Med Genet 1987; 24: 549-555.

6. Ali A, Al-Alaiyan S. Cryptophthalmos syndrome (Fraser syndrome) with cardiac findings in a Saudi newborn. Ann Saudi Med 1999; 19: 357-358.

7. Bialer MG, Wilson WG. Syndromic cryptophthalmos. Am J Med Genet 1988; 30: 835-837.

8. Omori M, Chytel F. Mechanism of vitamin A action. J Biol Chem 1982; 257: 14370-14374.

9. Kabra M, Gulati S, Ghosh M, Menon PSN. Fraser cryptophthalmos syndrome. Indian J Pediatr 2000; 67 : 775-778.


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