Hurler syndrome (patient information)
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Hurler syndrome On the Web
Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. ; Associate Editor-In-Chief: Varun Kumar, M.B.B.S.
Hurler syndrome is a rare, inherited disease of metabolism in which a person cannot break down long chains of sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (formerly called mucopolysaccharides).
Hurler syndrome belongs to a group of diseases called mucopolysaccharidoses, or MPS.
What are the symptoms of Hurler syndrome?
Symptoms of Hurler syndrome most often appear between ages 3 and 8. Infants with severe Hurler syndrome appear normal at birth. Facial symptoms may become more noticeable during the first 2 years of life.
- Abnormal bones in the spine
- Claw hand
- Cloudy corneas
- Halted growth
- Heart valve problems
- Joint disease, including stiffness
- Mental retardation that gets worse over time
- Thick, coarse facial features with low nasal bridge
What causes Hurler syndrome?
Persons with Hurler syndrome do not make a substance called lysosomal alpha-L-iduronidase. This substance, called an enzyme, helps break down long chains of sugar molecules called glycosaminoglycans (formerly called mucopolysaccharides). These molecules are found throughout the body, often in mucus and in fluid around the joints.
Without the enzyme, glycosaminoglycans build up and damage organs, including the heart. Symptoms can range from mild to severe.
Hurler syndrome is inherited, which means that your parents must pass the disease on to you. Both parents need to pass down the faulty gene in order for you to develop Hurler syndrome.
Hurler syndrome is a type of mucopolysaccharidosis called MPS I. Hurler syndrome is the most severe type. It is categorized as MPS I H.
The other subtypes of MPS I are:
- MPS I H-S (Hurler-Scheie syndrome)
- MPS I S (Scheie syndrome)
When to seek urgent medical care?
Call your health care provider if:
You have a family history of Hurler syndrome and are considering having children Your child begins to show symptoms of Hurler syndrome
- Genetic testing for the alpha-L-iduronidase (IDUA) gene
- Urine tests for extra mucopolysaccharides
- X-ray of the spine
Enzyme replacement therapy adds a working form of the missing enzyme to the body.
Bone marrow transplant has been used in several patients with this condition. The treatment has had mixed results.
Other treatments depend on the organs that are affected.
Where to find medical care for Hurler syndrome?
Directions to Hospitals Treating Hurler syndrome
What to expect (Outlook/Prognosis)?
Hurler syndrome is a disease with a poor outlook. Children with this disease develop nervous system problems, and can die young.