Shwachman Diamond Syndrome
National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
It is possible that the main title of the report Shwachman Diamond Syndrome is not the name you expected.
Shwachman syndrome is a rare genetic disorder with multiple and varied manifestations. The disorder is typically characterized by signs of insufficient absorption (malabsorption) of fats and other nutrients due to abnormal development of the pancreas (pancreatic insufficiency) and improper functioning of the bone marrow (bone marrow dysfunction), resulting in low levels of circulating blood cells (hematologic abnormalities). Additional characteristic findings may include short stature; abnormal bone development affecting the rib cage and/or bones in the arms and/or legs (metaphyseal dysostosis); and/or liver abnormalities.
Due to abnormal skeletal changes, individuals with Shwachman syndrome may have abnormal thickening of the ribs and their supporting connective tissue (costochondral thickening), resulting in unusually short, flared ribs. In addition, improper bone development (abnormal ossification) within the arms and/or legs (limbs) may cause growth delay in particular bones. Many children with Shwachman syndrome may also be smaller than expected for their ages, with below average height (short stature) and weight. Although malabsorption due to pancreatic insufficiency may itself cause problems with growth and nutrition, short stature appears to be one of the many primary manifestations of Shwachman syndrome.
In addition, as a result of bone marrow dysfunction, individuals with Shwachman syndrome may have a decrease in any or all types of blood cells. Therefore, they may have low levels of certain white blood cells (neutropenia), platelets (thrombocytopenia), red blood cells (anemia), and/or all types of blood cells (pancytopenia). Neutropenia is the most common blood abnormality associated with Shwachman syndrome. Because neutrophils, a type of white blood cell, play an essential role in fighting bacterial infections, many affected individuals are prone to repeated bacterial infections (e.g., recurrent respiratory infections [pneumonia] and infections of the middle ear [otitis media]); in some cases, infections may be severe.
Some affected individuals may also have abnormal enlargement of the liver (hepatomegaly), increased levels of certain liver enzymes in the blood, and/or other findings in association with the disorder. Shwachman syndrome is believed to be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.
Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
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NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
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NIH/National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases
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NIH/National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive & Kidney Diseases
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National Neutropenia Network
- P.O. Box 1693
- Brighton, MI 48116
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Neutropenia Support Association, Inc.
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- Website: http://www.neutropenia.ca
Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome Foundation
- 127 Western Avenue
- Sherborn, MA 1770
- Tel: (888)825-7373
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- Website: http://www.shwachman-diamond.org
For a Complete Report
This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). For a full-text version of this report, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".
The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only.
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This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.
Last Updated: 6/4/2012
Copyright 2012 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.
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