Marfan Syndrome and Other Connective Tissue Diseases
What is it?
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue throughout the body. A significant percentage of people with this syndrome develop changes in their blood vessels and heart. The aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body, weakens and stretches, causing an increased risk of tear (aortic dissection) or rupture (bursting), which can be fatal. Additionally, the valves in the heart can stretch causing blood to leak backward; this can result in increased work load on the heart and possible heart failure. Cardiac surgery may be necessary to repair faulty heart valves or prevent the aorta from bursting.