Jarcho-Levin syndrome: Four new cases and classification of subtypes

P. S. Karnes, D. Day, S. A. Berry, M. E.M. Pierpont

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90 Scopus citations


The Jarcho-Levin syndrome is a condition manifested by vertebral body and related rib malformations. We report on four new cases and review 57 cases from the literature. Analysis of the 61 cases suggests that there are two major subtypes (spondylocostal dysostosis and spondylothoracic dysostosis) with different survival rates, associated malformations, and inheritance patterns. Individuals with spondylothoracic dysostosis have vertebral body malformations and ribs which flare in a fanlike pattern but which are not significantly malformed. This is an autosomal recessive trait, and the patients have a higher mortality rate and greater incidence of neural tube defects. Individuals with spondylocostal dysostosis have vertebral malformations, frequent dramatic rib malformations, and short stature, but do not have a fanlike thoracic configuration. Most cases of spondylocostal dysostosis are inherited in an autosomal recessive fashion, although in a few families it is a dominant trait which is correlated with better survival. Respiratory compromise previously accounted for the high mortality in these conditions, but improvements in respiratory technology have increased survival. Appropriate classification of these similar phenotypes will improve counseling concerning recurrence risk, management, and prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)264-270
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Medical Genetics
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1991


  • autosomal dominant inheritance
  • autosomal recessive inheritance
  • rib anomaly
  • spondylocostal dysostosis
  • spondylothoracic dysostosis
  • vertebral anomaly


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