What are the possible complications of Prader-Willi syndrome (PWS)?

Updated: Oct 14, 2020
  • Author: Ann Scheimann, MD, MBA; Chief Editor: Luis O Rohena, MD, MS, FAAP, FACMG  more...
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  • Patients with Prader-Willi syndrome can develop complications from the following:

    • Hypogonadism (osteoporosis/pathologic fractures)

    • Obesity due to hyperphagia and hypometabolism (secondary to hypopituitarism): This predisposes patients to premature death from cardiorespiratory failure.

    • Slipped capital femoral epiphyses/hip dysplasia

    • Sleep apnea: Patients with Prader-Willi syndrome have a primary disturbance in central control of the respiratory drive with diminished responsiveness to hypercapnia during quiet sleep.

    • Cor pulmonale

    • Type 2 diabetes mellitus

    • Neoplasias (eg, Wilms tumors, [64] testicular neoplasias, [65] multiple endocrine neoplasia [MEN1], [66] neoplasias, hematologic neoplasias [leukemia] [67] ): Various neoplasias have been rarely reported in patients with Prader-Willi syndrome.

    • Binge-eating episodes: These episodes may predispose patients to choking episodes (which require the Heimlich maneuver), acute gastric dilation with risk of gastric necrosis, and food poisoning from consumption of contaminated food. [13, 35]

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