Primary Article

Genetic Conditions Among Patients Receiving Genetic Services in Middle Tennessee



We reviewed genetics charts of 2235 patients seen from 1985 to 1990 at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, Tennessee, and summarized the 20 most common reasons for referral (occurring in 1138 of the patients) and the diagnoses or conditions among patients receiving genetic services in one of four clinical settings (prenatal counseling clinics, general genetics clinics, outreach genetics clinics, and ward consultations). The five most common reasons for referral were advanced maternal age (≥35 years) (203/1138, or 18% of patients), followed by dysmorphic features/multiple congenital anomalies (MCA) (185/1138; 16%), developmental delay/mental retardation (MR) (168/1138; 15%), Down's syndrome (103/1138; 9%), and abnormal maternal serum α-fetoprotein (MSAFP) (74/1138; 7%). The five most common diagnoses or conditions identified for all genetics patients were advanced maternal age (≥35 years) (195/906; 22%), developmental delay/MR (111/906; 12%), dysmorphic features/MCA (107/906; 12%), Down's syndrome (88/906; 10%), and multiple fetal losses (57/906; 6%). Of the 20 most common diagnoses or conditions categorized in 602 of the 906 patients, a multifactorial cause was observed in 25% of those patients; a chromosomal cause was observed in 26% of cases of Down's syndrome, accounting for 55% of the chromosomal disorders; a single gene disorder was observed in 17% of patients; an environmental cause was seen in 4%; and an unknown cause was noted in 28%. We hope this study will help physicians in middle Tennessee and surrounding areas by increasing their awareness of the types and frequencies of genetic diseases so that misdiagnoses and delayed referrals can be avoided.

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