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OBJECTIVE: Crouzon syndrome with acanthosis nigricans (CAN) is caused by the specific mutation c.1172C>A (p.Ala391Glu) in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 gene, and has an estimated prevalence of 1:1,000,000 births. Most cases occur de novo; however, autosomal dominant inheritance may occur. The clinical presentation typically includes craniosynostosis, midface and maxillary hypoplasia, choanal atresia/stenosis, hydrocephalus, and intracranial hypertension. Patients develop acanthosis nigricans, a hyperkeratotic skin disorder. The authors present the first known study to investigate the speech, language, hearing, and feeding of patients with CAN. METHODS: A retrospective case-note review of patients with a genetically confirmed diagnosis of CAN attending the Oxford Craniofacial Unit during a 36-year period (1987-2023) was undertaken. RESULTS: Participants were 6 patients with genetically-confirmed CAN (5 females, 1 male), all cases arose de novo. All patients had craniosynostosis (n = 5/6 multisuture synostosis, n = 1/6 left unicoronal synostosis). Hydrocephalus was managed through ventriculoperitoneal shunt in 67% (n = 4/6) of patients, and 67% (n = 4/6) had a Chiari 1 malformation. Patients had a complex, multifactorial feeding history complicated by choanal atresia/stenosis (100%; n = 6/6), and significant midface hypoplasia. All patients required airway management through tracheostomy (83%; n = 5/6); and/or continuous positive airway pressure (67%; n = 4/6). All patients underwent adenotonsillectomy (100%; n = 6/6). Initial failure to thrive, low weight, and/or height were seen in 100% (n = 6/6) patients; 80% (n = 4/5) had reflux; 100% (n = 6/6) had nasogastric, or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy based feeding during their treatment journey. All patients had hearing loss (100%; n = 6/6). Early communication difficulties were common: receptive language disorder (50%; n = 3/6); expressive language disorder (50%; n = 3/6); and speech sound disorder in 50% (n = 3/6)-necessitating the use of Makaton in 80% of patients (n = 3/5). CONCLUSIONS: Patients with CAN experience significant respiratory, neurological, and structural obstacles to hearing, speech, language, and feeding. The authors present a recommended pathway for management to support patients in these domains.

Original publication




Journal article


J Craniofac Surg

Publication Date