Several parts of a woman's body can be affected by Turner syndrome -- the heart and blood vessels are no exception. Anywhere from 5 to 10 percent of children with Turner syndrome are found to have a condition known as "coarctation of the aorta." This defect is a severe constriction of the major blood vessel coming out from the heart. Other heart and blood vessel problems that may be experienced by women with Turner syndrome include high blood pressure and bicuspid aortic valves.
Turner Syndrome and Coarctation of the Aorta
About 5 to 10 percent of children with Turner syndrome are found to have a severe constriction of the major blood vessel coming out from the heart, a condition known as "coarctation of the aorta." This defect is thought to be the result of an obstructed lymphatic system compressing the developing aorta during fetal life. This can be surgically corrected as soon as it is diagnosed.
Other Heart and Blood Vessel Problems Caused by Turner Syndrome
Other major defects in the heart and its major vessels are reported to a much lesser degree. As many as 15 percent of adults with Turner syndrome are reported to have "bicuspid aortic valves," meaning that the major blood vessel from the heart has only two, rather than three, components to the valve regulating blood flow. This condition has been discovered mainly by medical imaging studies done on women without symptoms, and it may not be clinically obvious. It requires careful medical monitoring, since bicuspid aortic valves can deteriorate or become infected. In general, it is advised that all women with Turner syndrome undergo annual cardiac evaluations.
High Blood Pressure and Turner Syndrome
Many women with Turner syndrome have high blood pressure, which may be apparent even in childhood. In some cases, this high blood pressure may be due to aortic constriction, or to kidney abnormalities. In a majority of women, however, no specific cause for the high blood pressure has been found.
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