How is Down syndrome treated?

Updated: May 18, 2020
  • Author: Gratias Tom Mundakel, MBBS, DCH; Chief Editor: Maria Descartes, MD  more...
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Physicians and parents should be aware of the range of psychomotor potential so that early intervention, schooling, and community placement are provided.

Despite continued work, no notable medical treatments for intellectual disability associated with Down syndrome have been forthcoming. However, the dramatic improvements in medical care described below have greatly improved the quality of life for patients and increased their life expectancy. [98]

Usual immunizations and well-child care should be performed as the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends. Associated conditions should be monitored periodically as the child grows older.

Surgical management of associated conditions should be provided as appropriate. Down syndrome alone does not adversely affect surgical outcomes in the absence of pulmonary hypertension. Because of potential atlanto-occipital instability, care should be taken when sedation and airway management are considered for procedures or for consideration of sports participation.

Further outpatient care may include the following:

  • Audiologic evaluation for hearing loss

  • Apnea monitoring

Regular screening is necessary for institutionalized older adults to diagnose early onset dementia, epilepsy, hypothyroidism, and early loss of visual acuity and hearing.

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