What is CHARGE?

In 1979, Dr. B.D. Hall first described this condition.  Then in 1981, the acronym CHARGE was given to children who had a cluster of features occurring together. Each letter in the name CHARGE stands for a common clinical finding in children with this condition.  

C: Coloboma of eye. This is like a cleft (opening) and can involve the iris (colored part of the eye), retina, or disc. Microphthalmia (small eye) can also occur.
H: Heart defects
A: Choanal atresia (narrowing of the passages that go from the nose to the back of the throat).
R: Retarded growth and development
G: Genital abnormalities
E: Ear anomalies (short wide ear with “snipped” off outer helix and prominent inner fold). Children also have hearing loss due to abnormalities of the middle and inner ear.

Other anomalies can include facial palsy (paralysis of facial nerves), brain abnormalities, cleft lip and palate, kidney abnormalities, and characteristic facial features.

What causes CHARGE Syndrome?

CHARGE is caused by a change (“mutation”) in a gene called the CHD7 on chromosome 8.  In body cells, each person has 46 chromosomes that come in 23 pairs. One member of each chromosome pair is inherited from an individual’s mother and the other from the father. Therefore, each person has two copies of chromosome 8, one copy that is inherited from a person’s mother and the other from a person’s father.  Each chromosome is divided into two parts, a short arm called the “p” arm and the long arm known as the “q” arm.  The CHD7 gene is on the “q” arm of chromosome 8.

Approximately 60-70% of individuals with typical clinical features of CHARGE, will have a change in the gene detected through routine testing of the gene called “sequence analysis". A smaller percentage of individuals with CHARGE have deletions (material  missing) or duplications (additional genetic material) in the CHD7 gene which requires specialized testing. Most individuals with CHARGE do not have an affected parent. Once a person has CHARGE, there is a 50% chance that they will have children with similar problems.

What is the prognosis for my child with CHARGE?

With proper management, the prognosis for most children with this condition is positive. With careful monitoring and management of visual, hearing, craniofacial, and cardiac (heart) issues, these children will attend school, have friends, and most of all enjoy life. With close follow-up by a craniofacial team and/or clinical geneticist, these children can grow to healthy and happy adults.

This page was last updated on: 6/14/2017 10:22:14 AM

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