The Changing Face of Survival in Rett Syndrome and MECP2-Related Disorders

Daniel C. Tarquinio, Wei Hou, Jeffrey L. Neul, Walter E. Kaufmann, Daniel G. Glaze, Kathleen J. Motil, Steven A. Skinner, Hye Seung Lee, Alan K. Percy

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    Purpose Survival in Rett syndrome remains unclear. Although early estimates were grim, more recent data suggest that survival into adulthood is typical. We aimed to define survival in Rett syndrome more clearly and identify risk factors for early death. Methods Participants with clinical Rett Syndrome or methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 mutations without clinical RTT were recruited through the Rett Syndrome Natural History study from 2006 to 2015. Clinical details were collected, and survival was determined using the Kaplan-Meier estimator. Risk factors were assessed using Cox proportional hazards models. Results Among 1189 valid participants, 51 died (range 3.9-66.6 years) during the 9-year follow-up period. Those who died included 36 (3.9%) classic Rett syndrome females, 5 (5.9%) atypical severe Rett syndrome females, 1 (2.4%) non-Rett syndrome female, the single atypical severe male, 6 (30%) non-Rett syndrome males, and 2 (7.1%) methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 duplication syndrome males. All atypical mild Rett syndrome females, methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 duplication syndrome females, and the single classic Rett syndrome male remain alive. Most deaths were due to cardiorespiratory issues. Only one died from severe malnutrition, scoliosis, and extreme frailty. Survival for classic and atypical Rett syndrome was greater than 70% at 45 years. Overall severity and several modifiable risk factors, including ambulation, weight, and seizures, were associated with mortality in classic Rett syndrome. Conclusions Survival into the fifth decade is typical in Rett syndrome, and death due to extreme frailty has become rare. Although the leading cause of death remains cardiorespiratory compromise, many risk factors for early death are modifiable. Intense therapeutic interventions could further improve the prognosis for individuals with Rett syndrome.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)402-411
    Number of pages10
    JournalPediatric Neurology
    Volume53
    Issue number5
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Nov 2015

    Keywords

    • Rett syndrome
    • mortality
    • prognosis
    • risk factors
    • survival

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
    • Neurology
    • Developmental Neuroscience
    • Clinical Neurology

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