Kelly de la Rocha
Trisomy 13 and trisomy 18 are genetic disorders that cause serious birth defects and health problems.
Chromosomes carry genetic information. Infants born with trisomy 13 or 18 have 3 of the affected chromosome where there should only be 2.
A risk factor is something that increases your chance of developing a disease or condition.
There are no known ways that parents can cause or prevent their child from being born with trisomy 13 or 18.
The symptoms of trisomy 13 and 18 vary. Most children will have some, but not all symptoms.
Symptoms of trisomy 13:
Symptoms of trisomy 18:
Trisomy 13 and 18 can be diagnosed both before and after birth. Tests may include the following:
There is no specific treatment or cure for trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. Most babies born with trisomy 13 or 18 have severe physical problems. Treatment may focus on making the child comfortable, rather than prolonging life. Talk to your doctor about whether life-prolonging measures are appropriate for your child.
Children who survive infancy may need:
There are no known ways to prevent trisomy 13 or trisomy 18. After these disorders are diagnosed, parents can decide whether to continue or terminate the pregnancy. If you have concerns, talk to a genetic counselor when deciding to have children.
NORD—National Organization for Rare Disorders
Support Organization for Trisomy 18, 13, and Related Disorders
Caring for Kids—Canadian Paediatric Society
The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada
Practice Bulletin No. 163: screening for fetal aneuploidy. Obstet Gynecol. 2016;127(5):e123-e137.
Trisomy 13. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115387/Trisomy-13. Updated March 17, 2017. Accessed April 7, 2017.
Trisomy 18. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113839/Trisomy-18. Updated March 17, 2017. Accessed April 7, 2017.
Trisomy 18 and 13. Standford Children's Health website. Available at:
http://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=trisomy-18-and-13-90-P02419. Accessed April 7, 2017.
Last reviewed April 2017 by Kari Kassir, MD
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