What is Prune Belly Syndrome?

Prune Belly Syndrome is a rare disease. Many people have not heard of it. Exactly what is it?

It is also referred to as Eagle Barrett Syndrome. This rare disease is characterized by the physical problems of the disease. For starters the front abdominal muscles are weak or even missing, the urinary tract or parts of it has not developed correctly and for males the testes stays up inside the abdominal region and doesn’t come down into the scrotum like they should.

Other physical problems that may occur with Prune Belly Syndrome are; curvature of the spine, hip dislocations, clubfeet, respiratory problems, heart problems, gastrointestinal problems.

The following are the stats for Prune Belly Syndrome. It can be found in one in 40,000 live births. Ninety-five percent of these cases are male. Twenty percent of the patients are still born. Thirty percent die of kidney failure within the first two years of life. Fifty percent have varying degrees of urinary problems.

The cause of Prune Belly Syndrome is not completely known. Researchers do however believe that possibly a disruption occurs as the fetus is developing. This disruption could be a blockage of some kind in the fetus’ urinary tract, thus keeping it from developing normally.

Prune Belly Syndrome can usually be diagnosed during pregnancy with an ultrasound. The ultrasound can usually show any abnormal development of the bladder and urinary tract. What happens is that as the fetus grows fluid develops in its stomach. The stomach stretches larger and larger. The fluid is reabsorbed before the baby is born. Then when the baby is born the infant’s stomach will have a sagging or wrinkling looking stomach (a prune like look to it).

After the baby is born, ultrasounds and X-rays can then be taken to show just how severe the urinary and bladder damage is.

There is no cure for Prune Belly Syndrome. But sometimes, depending on the severity of the problems of the urinary tract and bladder, repairs can be made after birth. Some surgeons are now even attempting to try to fix some of the urinary tract problems before birth. These procedures are having mixed results, so far.

Children with Prune Belly Syndrome who are prone to urinary tract infections can be treated with antibiotics, but they can keep returning and kidney failure can occur. Many children have been put on dialysis and have had kidney transplants.

Boys with Prune Belly Syndrome can have surgery to bring their testes down to their scrotum.

Can a child live with Prune Belly Syndrome? It depends on the severity. Infections will have to be taken seriously.

Research is being done daily. Hopefully, soon we will know more about this syndrome and how to treat and cure it.

For more information check out this site: http://www.prunebelly.org

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