Author(s): Etheridge T, Kellom ER, Sullivan R, Ver Hoeve JN,Schmitt MA. Ocular evaluation and genetic test for an early Alström Syndrome diagnosis. Am J Ophthalmol Case Rep. 2020 Aug 12;20:100873. doi: 10.1016/j.ajoc.2020.100873. eCollection 2020 Dec. PMID 32944671
Journal: American Journal Of Ophthalmology Case Reports, Volume 20, Dec 2020
Purpose We present 3 cases of Alström syndrome (ALMS) that highlight the importance of the ophthalmic exam, as well as the diagnostic challenges and management considerations of this ultra-rare disease.
Observations The first case is of a 2-year-old boy with history of spasmus nutans who presented with head bobbing and nystagmus. The second patient is a 5-year-old boy with history of infantile dilated cardiomyopathy status post heart transplant, Burkitt lymphoma status post chemotherapy, obesity, global developmental delay, and high hyperopia previously thought to have cortical visual impairment secondary to heart surgery/possible ischemic event. This patient presented with nystagmus, photophobia, and reduced vision. The third case involves a 8-year-old boy with history of obesity, bilateral optic nerve atrophy, hyperopic astigmatism, exotropia, and nystagmus. Upon presentation to the consulting pediatric ophthalmologist, none of the patients had yet been diagnosed with ALMS. All 3 cases were subsequently found to have an electroretinogram (ERG) that exhibited severe global depression and to carry ALMS1 pathogenic variants.
Conclusions and Importance ALMS is an autosomal recessive disease caused by ALMS1 variations, characterized by cone-rod dystrophy, obesity, progressive sensorineural hearing loss, cardiomyopathy, insulin resistance, and multiorgan dysfunction. Retinal dystrophy diagnosis is critical given clinical criteria and detection rates of genetic testing. Early diagnosis is extremely important because progression to flat ERG leads to the inability to differentiate between rod-cone or cone-rod involvement, either of which have their own differential diagnoses. In our series, the ophthalmic exam and abnormal ERG prompted further genetic testing and the subsequent diagnosis of ALMS. Multidisciplinary care ensures the best possible outcome with the ophthalmologist playing a key role.