Edwards Syndrome
Jagdish Kathwate
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Edwards Syndrome - Patient Education
What is Edwards' syndrome?
Edwards' syndrome is a very rare condition caused by an abnormal amount of chromosomes in the cells of the body. Babies are normally born with 46 chromosomes, which are arranged in 23 pairs. A baby with Edwards' syndrome has three copies of chromosome 18, rather than the usual pair. The condition is also known as Trisomy 18. Edwards' syndrome is a very serious condition. Sadly, most babies who are born with Edwards' syndrome only survive a few days, weeks, or months. Those who survive longer than a year have a wide range of serious medical problems. Babies with Edwards' syndrome don't grow as well as they should in the uterus (womb) and so have a low birth weight. Their hearts and kidneys don't develop properly. They have problems with feeding and breathing and they have severe learning difficulties.

How common is Edwards' syndrome?
Edwards' syndrome is very rare. One in 3,000 pregnancies is diagnosed with Edwards' syndrome. Screening tests, such as the combined screening test, or private non-invasive prenatal testing (NIPT) , will tell you your risk of having a baby with Edwards' syndrome. Diagnostic tests, such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling (CVS), diagnose the condition. Only one in 4,000 to 6,000 babies is actually born with Edwards' syndrome.

What causes Edwards' syndrome?
The causes are not known, but the risk of having a baby with Edwards' syndrome increases slightly as you become older. It is usually caused by a genetic abnormality in either the egg or sperm that created your baby.


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