European Journal of Medical Genetics vol:57 issue:4 pages:157-162
A definitive molecular diagnosis of 22q11 Deletion Syndrome (22q11DS) even if occurring later in life, has important genetic, medical and emotional impact on the patients and their families. The aim of this study is to describe presenting symptoms and age at diagnosis in an adult 22q11DS population. A retrospective study was performed on 65 individuals diagnosed with 22q11DS at adult age. Data were collected on adults referred to the genetic clinic or actively recruited through systematic diagnostic examination in both institutions and a psychiatric unit for intellectually disabled. Presenting symptoms were categorized into seven groups: familial occurrence, intellectual disability, cardiac anomalies, palatal anomalies, facial dysmorphic features, psychiatric problems and 'other' (comprising all other features associated with 22q11DS). Age at diagnosis was defined as the age at which the 22q11.2 deletion was detected by fluorescence in situ hybridization or comparative genomic hybridization. Ascertainment subgroups were different in presenting symptoms and age at diagnosis. Adults were referred to the genetic clinic mainly because of familial occurrence, cardiac defects and psychiatric disorders whereas adults diagnosed in institutions for intellectually disabled presented mainly with moderate to severe intellectual disability and psychotic disorders. Adults diagnosed at the psychiatric unit for intellectually disabled had a variety of psychiatric disorders but none of them had additional physical features. This emphasizes the need to stay alert for presenting symptoms such as conotruncal heart defects or moderate to severe intellectual disability in combination with a history of psychiatric disorders, even in the absence of obvious physical features.