Noonan Syndrome


Noonan syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects various aspects of physical development. Individuals with this condition may experience distinctive facial features, shorter stature, cardiovascular issues, and other physical irregularities. Additionally, it may result in delayed developmental milestones, such as in mobility, speech, and learning capabilities.

The cause of Noonan syndrome is a mutation in a specific gene. This mutation can be inherited from one parent, following a pattern known as dominant inheritance. Alternatively, the syndrome can arise from a new mutation, with no prior family history of the condition.

The approach to managing Noonan syndrome primarily focuses on alleviating symptoms and addressing complications. For individuals with Noonan syndrome who are significantly shorter, treatment may include the administration of growth hormone therapy.


Noonan Syndrome is a genetic disorder that presents a wide array of symptoms ranging from mild to severe, often related to specific genetic mutations. Understanding the symptoms and seeking appropriate care are crucial for managing the condition. Below is a comprehensive breakdown of the key aspects of Noonan Syndrome.

Facial features: Facial characteristics are pivotal in diagnosing Noonan Syndrome, particularly noticeable in infants and young children and may evolve with age:

  • Eyes: Typically wide-set, slanting downwards with droopy lids, and possibly pale blue or green.
  • Ears: Low-set, appearing as though they are tipped backward.
  • Nose: Features a depressed top, wide base, and round tip.
  • Mouth: Distinguished by a deep groove between the nose and mouth, wide peaks on the upper lip, potentially crooked teeth, a highly arched palate, and a smaller lower jaw.
  • Overall facial appearance: May seem coarse, becoming sharper with age. The face might appear droopy with limited expression.
  • Head and skin: The head may be larger with a pronounced forehead and low hairline at the back, while the skin can become thin and transparent over time.

Heart disease: A significant number of individuals with Noonan Syndrome have congenital heart disease, manifesting in various forms:

  • Valve conditions: Pulmonary valve stenosis is common.
  • Thickening of the heart muscle: Known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.
  • Other structural problems: Including ventricular septal defect, pulmonary artery stenosis, and aortic coarctation.
  • Irregular heart rhythm: A frequent occurrence, with or without structural issues.

Growth issues: Growth can be significantly affected, characterized by:

  • Slower growth rates despite normal birth weight.
  • Potential eating difficulties impacting nutrition and weight gain.
  • Low levels of growth hormone.
  • Delayed growth spurts during teenage years, leading to shorter adult stature for many.

Musculoskeletal Issues: Common issues include:

  • Pectus Excavatum or Pectus Carinatum: Abnormal chest wall shape.
  • Widely spaced nipples.
  • Short neck with possible extra skin folds (webbed neck).
  • Abnormal spinal curvature.

Learning disabilities and other concerns 

  • Most individuals have normal intelligence but may face learning disabilities or mild intellectual challenges.
  • Mental, emotional, and behavioral issues are possible but usually mild.
  • Hearing and vision problems could exacerbate learning difficulties.

Eye and hearing problems

  • Strabismus (cross-eye), refractive issues, nystagmus, and cataracts can affect vision.
  • Hearing loss may occur due to nerve issues or atypical inner ear bone structure.

Bleeding and lymphatic issues

  • Bleeding problems and easy bruising are common due to clotting issues.
  • Lymphatic system problems can cause lymphedema, manifesting as fluid buildup in extremities.

Genital and kidney conditions

  • Males often have undescended testicles, affecting fertility.
  • Puberty may be delayed.
  • Kidney issues are usually mild but can occur.

Skin conditions: Variations in skin color and texture, alongside possible hair issues, are noted.

Given the complexity and variability of symptoms, consult a healthcare professional if Noonan Syndrome is suspected. Early diagnosis and management are key to addressing the diverse challenges posed by the syndrome.


Noonan syndrome is caused by alterations in specific genes that lead to the continuous activation of certain proteins. These genes are crucial in the development of body tissues, and their abnormal activation interferes with normal cell growth and division processes.

The genetic mutations responsible for Noonan syndrome can occur in two ways:

  • Inherited: When a parent has Noonan syndrome due to a genetic mutation, there is a 50% chance of passing this altered gene to their offspring. This pattern of inheritance is referred to as autosomal dominant.
  • Spontaneous: In some instances, Noonan syndrome may arise from a spontaneous genetic mutation in a child, where the mutation is not inherited from either parent. This is termed a de novo genetic condition.

There are also situations where the exact cause of Noonan syndrome remains unidentified.

Risk factors

A parent with Noonan syndrome has a 50% chance of transmitting the altered gene to their child. The child who inherits the irregular gene may or may not exhibit more symptoms than the affected parent.