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Sturge Weber Syndrome

PodcastDX

Release Date: 04/27/2021

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A mother of two from Alberta, Canada, Chelsey Peat was born with a rare condition called Sturge Weber Syndrome. She was born with a large portwine stain birthmark on the left side of her face and has glaucoma in her left eye. She has had multiple surgeries including life saving brain surgery as a baby.

Chelsey Peat

Sturge-Weber syndrome (SWS) is a rare disorder affecting the skin and nervous system. Babies with SWS are born with a birthmark on their face known as a port-wine stain. Port-wine birthmarks are caused by enlarged blood vessels right underneath the skin. People with Sturge-Weber syndrome also have clusters of abnormal blood vessels between the layers of tissue that cover the brain and spine known as leptomeningeal angiomas. They may also have  increased pressure in the eyes known as glaucoma. Other symptoms of SWS may include seizures, muscle weakness, developmental and intellectual disability. SWS is caused by a mutation in the GNAQ gene. The gene mutation is not inherited, but occurs by chance in cells of the developing embryo. SWS is diagnosed based on the symptoms. Imaging studies, such as an MRI or CT-scan, are also used to aid in the diagnosis. There is no one treatment for SWS, so management involves treating the specific symptoms that are present. This may include anti-seizure medications, medications and/or surgery for glaucoma, and low-dose aspirin to reduce the pressure in the eyes and brain. The port-wine birthmark may be treated with various types of laser treatments. The long-term outlook for people with SWS is dependent on the severity of symptoms and varies from person to person. (Credits to The NIH on Rare Diseases)