New study identifies common physical features in babies born to mothers who used fentanyl

Facial images of People 1-6 (A-F) as used within the GestaltMatcher evaluation. Beneath every picture are a lateral facial view, a hand, and a foot picture of the respective particular person. Credit score: Genetics in Medication Open (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.gimo.2023.100834

Infants born to moms who used fentanyl throughout being pregnant displayed related facial and musculoskeletal abnormalities that recommend the emergence of a novel syndrome, in response to analysis printed within the journal Genetics in Medication Open.

In the summertime of 2022, a genetic counselor and a bunch of physicians at Nemours Youngsters’s Hospital, Delaware, observed that a number of infants who have been referred by native neonatal intensive care items or delivered to the hospital for feeding difficulties shortly after start had related facial options and a number of bodily abnormalities, defined senior creator Karen W. Gripp, MD, Chief of the Division of Medical Genetics at Nemours Youngsters’s Well being, Delaware Valley.

Gripp and colleagues enrolled six Nemours sufferers in a research to additional assess their signs and traits. 4 infants from different establishments have been added later.

Gripp mentioned the infants all had small heads, brief stature, and distinctive facial options. A number of infants had cleft palate, “rocker backside” ft, and malformed genital organs. Different widespread options included brief, broad thumbs, a single palmar crease, and fused toes.

Genetic testing dominated out sure suspected diagnoses, together with Smith-Lemli-Opitz syndrome, a uncommon genetic situation. Facial function evaluation utilizing the GestaltMatcher algorithm (FDNA Inc.) prompt that the sufferers didn’t have fetal alcohol syndrome. By ruling out these two syndromes and confirming that every one the moms had used fentanyl throughout being pregnant, researchers started to suspect a novel syndrome, Gripp defined.

Fentanyl is a strong opioid which has been confirmed to cross the placenta and trigger start defects. Gripp mentioned that whereas all of the moms of infants on this research mentioned they’d used fentanyl throughout being pregnant, the researchers had restricted data on once they had used the drug, and in what quantities. Gripp cautioned that additional analysis can be essential to find out whether or not fentanyl brought on the abnormalities, or whether or not the signs developed because of a contaminant or one other drug used on the identical time.

Whereas the preliminary report focuses on 10 infants, Gripp mentioned she and colleagues have heard anecdotally about extra youngsters with related options born to moms who used fentanyl. Clinicians have additionally reported seeing sufferers with related however much less extreme traits, suggesting that the novel syndrome could exist on a spectrum.

Of the ten sufferers within the research, six are nonetheless receiving care via the Nemours system and are being adopted for additional evaluation of their signs. Three are being adopted by physicians in different states, and one affected person has died. Gripp goals to establish extra sufferers for additional analysis and care.

“Given the fentanyl use epidemic, it is very important acknowledge this situation,” Gripp mentioned. “Analogous to prenatal alcohol publicity inflicting fetal alcohol syndrome with long-term bodily and developmental penalties, this novel situation could influence many infants in life-changing methods.”

Gripp added that future analysis could contain efforts to definitively verify the novel syndrome via laboratory experiments and extra research.

Extra data:
Erin Wadman et al, A novel syndrome related to prenatal fentanyl publicity, Genetics in Medication Open (2023). DOI: 10.1016/j.gimo.2023.100834

Offered by
Nemours Youngsters’s Well being System

New research identifies widespread bodily options in infants born to moms who used fentanyl (2023, October 27)
retrieved 27 October 2023

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