Idiopathic infantile arterial calcification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Ayokunle Olubaniyi, M.B,B.S [2]

Synonyms and keywords: IIAC, arterial calcification of infancy, arterial medial calcification of infancy, generalized arterial calcification of infancy (GACI), idiopathic arterial calcification of infancy, idiopathic obliterative arteriopathy, infantile arteriosclerosis, infantile calcifying arteriopathy, medial coronary sclerosis of infancy, occlusive infantile arterial calcification, occlusive infantile arteriopathy.

Overview[edit]

Idiopathic infantile arterial calcification [1] is a extremely rare,[2] usually fatal genetic disorder, caused by mutations in the ENPP1 gene in 75% of the subjects.[3] The condition affects infants during the first 6 months of life. This condition is inherited as an autosomal recessive pattern. It is characterized by generalised calcification of the arterial internal elastic lamina, leading to rupture of the lamina and occlusive changes in the tunica intima with stenosis and decreased elasticity of the vessel wall.[4] Most infants die of vaso-occlusive disease, especially of the coronary arteries.[5]

Pathophysiology[edit]

The disease results from an inactivating mutation in the ecto-nucleotide pyrophosphatase/phosphodiesterase-1 ENPP1 gene, leading to decreased inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a potent inhibitor of calcium deposition in the vessel wall. This mutation allows for unregulated calcium deposition within muscular arteries. The symptoms are caused by calcification of large and medium-sized arteries, including the aorta, coronary arteries, and renal arteries. Most of the patients die by 6 months of age because of heart failure. Recently,homozygous or compound heterozygous mutations for ENPP1 gene were reported as causative for the disorder. ENPP1 regulates extracellular inorganic pyrophosphate (PPi), a major inhibiter of extracellular matrix calcification.[6]

Natural History, Complication and Prognosis[edit]

  • Although survival to adulthood has been reported,[7][8] sometimes with persistent hypertension and cardiovascular sequelae, most patients die within the first 6 months of life.
  • Spontaneous regression of arterial calcifications can occur, and antihypertensive treatment can be tapered off gradually. In some patients, the natural course of GACI may be more favourable than previously assumed.[9][10]
  • Despite the same genotype and similar sonographic and radiographic features in early infancy, the phenotype of IIAC can vary to a great extent within one family.[11]

Diagnosis[edit]

History and Symptoms[edit]

Idiopathic arterial calcification of infancy should always be considered in infants and children presenting with hypertension, cardiac failure, or sudden death.[12] Clinical presentation is variable. First symptoms usually occur at birth but can take place in the first 6 months of life or in utero.[2]

X-Ray[edit]

Plain radiography,[26]

MRI[edit]

MRI[27] can aid in the diagnosis.

Other Imaging Findings[edit]

Postnatal gray-scale and color Doppler echocardiographic and sonographic examinations allowed noninvasive diagnosis, assessment of severity, and monitoring of progression.[28] Contrast-enhanced MR angiography with breath-hold and cardiac gating techniques can allow evaluation of the extent of the disease.[29] Ultrasound can show subtle intravascular calcifications, particularly in the abdominal aorta at week 23.[30] Calcification has been detected at 33 weeks' gestation.[31]

Prevention and Early Detection[edit]

  • Potential role of genetic markers in the identification of persons at risk.[32] There is a 75% probability to identify the two EPPN1 mutations (one paternal, one maternal) that cause IIAC. Once the mutations are identified, preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) or chorionic villus sampling (CVS) are possible options to identify the condition, either before or during pregnancy.
  • At week 20 of gestation, it is possible to detect an Echogenic Intracardiac Focus (EIF)[33] or intravascular calcifications, particularly in the iliac and [abdominal aorta]. EIF is a small bright spot seen in the baby’s heart on an ultrasound exam. This is thought to represent mineralization, or small deposits of calcium hydroxyapatite,[34] in the muscle of the heart. EIFs are found in about 3-5% of normal pregnancies and cause no health problems.

Treatment[edit]

  • Prenatal[35] and postnatal treatment with low-dose, cyclical bisphosphonates, also called diphosphonate, resulted in a complete resolution of vascular calcifications in some cases using disodium pamidronate and risedronate.[36][37][38][37][39][40]
  • PGE1 infusion is a possible therapeutic alternative for babies with idiopathic arterial calcification complicated by severe hypertension refractory to conventional treatment.[41]
  • Infants must reach a certain weight to allow for a transplant, commonly not reached.[42]

References[edit]

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