Other Names for this Disease
- Mermaid malformation
- Fused legs and feet
- Sirenomelia sequence
- Mermaid syndrome
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Sirenomelia is a birth defect in which affected infants are born with a single lower extremity or with two legs that are fused together. The symptoms and physical findings associated with the condition vary greatly among affected individuals and may include malformations of the spine and skeletal system (commonly with vertebrae either absent or defective); absent or underdeveloped internal and external sex organs, rectum, kidneys and/or bladder; closed rectal opening (imperforate anus); and other abnormalities of the lower gastrointestinal tract. The exact cause is unknown, but it is believed to result from irregularities in early development of the blood circulating system within the embryo. Surgery has been successful in separating joined legs. Other treatment is symptomatic and supportive.
Last updated: 3/24/2016
- Crawford SE. Sirenomelia. NORD. 2012; http://rarediseases.org/rare-diseases/sirenomelia/.
- The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.
- The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
- Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
- PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Sirenomelia. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.