Marfan syndrome is a systemic disease of connective tissue characterized by a variable combination of cardiovascular, musculo-skeletal, ophthalmic and pulmonary manifestations.
Symptoms can appear at any age and vary greatly between individuals even within the same family. Cardiovascular involvement is characterized by 1) progressive dilation of the aorta accompanied by an increased risk of aortic dissection, which affects prognosis; the aortic dilation can result in a leaky aortic valve; and 2) mitral insufficiency, which can be complicated by arythmias, endocarditis or cardiac insufficiency. Skeletal involvement is often the first sign of the disease and can include dolichostenomelia (excessive length of extremities), large size, arachnodactyly, joint hypermobility, scoliotic deformations, acetabulum protrusion, thoracic deformity (pectus carinatum or pectus excavatum), dolichocephaly of the anteroposterior axis, micrognathism or malar hypoplasia. Ophthalmic involvement results in axile myopia, which can lead to retinal detachment and lens displacement (ectopia or luxation are characteristic signs). Ocular complications, particularly lens ectopia, can lead to blindness. Cutaneous signs (vergetures), a risk of pneumothorax and dural ectasia can also occur.