The symptoms, onset and rate of progression of Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome vary greatly from one person to another. The disorder can be thought of as a spectrum or continuum of disease. Some individuals may only have a few symptoms and others may have serious symptoms affecting several different organ systems simultaneously. Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome can potentially cause life-threatening complications. Some individuals will have severe symptoms during infancy, while others have slowly progressive symptoms that develop over the course of multiple decades.
The variable nature of Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome means that most affected individuals will not have all of the symptoms potentially associated with the disorder. Individuals with this disorder can differ from one another dramatically. Parents should talk to their children’s physician and medical team about their child’s specific case, associated symptoms and overall prognosis. Most affected individuals come to medical attention during middle childhood.
Rapidly progressive Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome is associated with an onset of symptoms before three years of age. Affected individuals may develop walking problems (impaired mobility) by the age of 10 and experience delayed or absence of puberty. These individuals may be at risk of heart failure by second or third decades of life.
Slowly progressive disease is characterized by later onset. A diagnosis is usually obtained after five years of age, most often during the second or third decade. Despite a slower progression, individuals may still develop a decrease in overall function and ability by their late teen-aged years. Most individuals with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome will develop serious complications at some point such as joint degeneration, cardiovascular disease, reduced pulmonary function or sleep apnea.
Intelligence is usually not affected in Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome. However, learning difficulties may be present as a consequence of other problems associated with the disorder (e.g., hearing loss).
Affected children may also exhibit failure to thrive and difficulty feeding. Short stature occurs in almost all patients and is described as disproportionate because the trunk may be shorter than the legs. In severe cases, final height may be less than 4 feet (120 centimeters). Degenerative joint disease is also common and can lead to the development of multiple joint contractures. A contracture occurs when Thickening or shortening of tissue such as muscle fibers cause deformity and restrict the movement of an affected joint.
Individuals with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome may be described as having ‘dysostosis multiplex’ a group of Skeletal abnormalities that can be seen on x-ray examination. These abnormalities include thickened, short bones of the palm of the hands (metacarpals), underdeveloped (hypoplastic) and irregular wrist bones (carpal bones), abnormal ankle bones (tarsal bones), malformation (dysplasia) of the head of the thighbone (dysplastic femoral head), severe malformation of the hip, abnormalities of the ribs and spine, thickened collarbones (clavicles), and underdevelopment of the bones of the forearm (ulna and radius). Additional skeletal malformations may include a prominent breastbone (pectus carinatum), abnormal curvature of the spine, and knock-knees (genu valgum).
Skeletal malformations can be associated with a variety of complications. Affected individuals may develop pain, especially of the joints and hip, spinal cord compression, an abnormal manner of walking (gait), or difficulty walking. Affected joints may have a limited range of motion making daily tasks difficult. For example, the ability to fully move the shoulders may make simple tasks such as putting on a shirt or combing hair difficult.
Distinctive facial features usually do not occur in individuals with mild forms of the disorder. Individuals with severe forms often share distinctive facial characteristics and these individuals may resemble one another in facial appearance. Such characteristics include chubby faces, thickened lips due to the overgrowth of the gums (gingival hypertrophy), an unusually prominent forehead (frontal bossing), and a broad, flattened bridge of the nose. In some affected individuals, the tongue may be enlarged (macroglossia). Abnormal growth of hair on the face or the body may also occur (hirsutism). Some individuals have a short, stiff neck.
Clouding (opacity) of the thin transparent covering of the front of the eye (cornea) may also occur. If corneal clouding is severe the patient may present vision loss, particularly in dim light. Some individuals may sensitive to bright lights. If the nerve-rich lining the back of the eyes (retina) is involved, affected individuals may have reduced peripheral vision or develop night blindness. In some cases, increased pressure within the eye (glaucoma) may also develop. Increased intraocular pressure may cause “thinning, cupping, or notching of the disc rim. Less commonly, additional eye abnormalities may occur including degeneration of the nerve that transmits visual information from the retina to the brain (optic nerve atrophy).
Affected individuals may experience chronic watery, mucous discharge from nose (rhinorrhea), frequent sinus infections, and middle ear infections (otitis media). Hearing loss is common. Hearing loss may be due to failure of sound to be conducted from the outer ear trough the eardrum and tiny bones of the middle ear (conductive hearing loss) or may be due to damage to the inner ear or the nerves that transmit sound from the inner ear to the brain (sensorineural). In some cases, hearing loss may be due to a combination of both problems (mixed hearing loss).
Abnormalities of the heart are common in children with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome. Symptoms associated with heart disease can include breathlessness, cough, wheezing, excessive sweating and recurrent chest infections. High blood pressure (hypertension) may also occur. Cardiac abnormalities can include narrowing (stenosis) and insufficiency of certain valves of the heart including the aortic, the mitral, and the tricuspid valves. Heart valves ensure that blood flows in only one direction within the heart. When a valve is damaged or malformed, blood can flow backward from one chamber back into another. Slowly progressive valvar heart disease can be present for years without causing symptoms. Eventually, valvar heart disease can cause a heart murmur. Narrowing of the heart valves can progressively make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood and can eventually result in heart failure.
Additional Heart abnormalities can include disease or weakening of the heart muscle (cardiomyopathy) and endocardial fibroelastosis. Cardiomyopathy can be associated with a progressive inability to pump blood, fatigue, heart block, and fast heartbeats (arrhythmia). Endocardial fibroelastosis is a condition characterized by Thickening of the endocardium of the ventricles. The endocardium is the innermost layer of tissue that surrounds the heart. These conditions can make it more difficult for the heart to pump blood effectively and can eventually cause heart failure and sudden cardiac death.
The lungs and other parts of the pulmonary system are usually affected. The storage of mucopolysaccharides may cause affected tissue to swell, which can obstruct various airways in the body, resulting in a high-pitched, loud respiratory sound (stridor) and airway compromise. Thick, mucous secretions can further clog the airways. The chest may become rigid, preventing the lungs from taking in sufficient amounts of air. Obstructive and restrictive lung disease can cause breathlessness, reduced endurance, recurrent episodes of pneumonia, and/or sleep apnea. Some affected infants have abnormal softening and weakening of the cartilage of the trachea (windpipe) so that the walls of the trachea are floppy instead of rigid (tracheomalacia). This is often mild, but can be severe, leading to collapse of the air passage. Tracheomalacia can contribute to breathing difficulties and may precipitate respiratory arrest. In some cases, the tonsils and adenoids may become enlarged narrowing the airway in the throat and contributing to breathing difficulties.
Abnormal enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly) is common in individuals with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome. The spleen may also be enlarged (splenomegaly). Hernias, conditions in which the abdominal membrane or contents protrude through a weak point in the abdominal wall, are also common. Umbilical hernias occur when the contents protrude from behind the bellybutton; inguinal hernias occur in the groin area. Some affected individuals have a protruding or bulging abdomen because of weakened muscles and/or hepatosplenomegaly.
Some affected individuals may develop hydrocephalus, a condition in which the accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the skull causes increased pressure on the brain, potentially causing a variety of signs and symptoms, including Headache and/or papilledema.
Another common symptom associated with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome is carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition caused by compression of a nerve running through the wrist. Symptoms usually begin as chronic tingling, Burning or numbness in the wrist. Eventually, it can progress to cause sharp, piercing pain. Less often, tarsal tunnel syndrome, a similar condition affecting the ankle, may also occur. Certain gastrointestinal symptoms including loose stools, diarrhea, or severe constipation have also been reported in individuals with Maroteaux-Lamy syndrome.