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Syndromes That May Affect the Urinary Tract
In addition to defects that occur
in a single spot in the urinary tract, some babies are born with genetic
conditions that affect several different systems in the body. A condition that
includes multiple, seemingly unrelated problems, is called a syndrome.
Prune belly syndrome (PBS). Occurring only in boys, PBS causes a baby to
have an enlarged abdomen because the normal abdominal wall muscles are missing
or very weak. The entire urinary tract is enlarged, and both testicles remain
inside the body instead of descending into the scrotum. The skin over the
abdomen is wrinkled, giving the appearance of a prune. Most children with PBS
have hydronephrosis and VUR.
Esophageal atresia (EA). EA is a birth defect in which the esophagus is
incomplete. The esophagus is the tube that carries food from the mouth to the
stomach. About 30 percent of babies born with EA will have problems in other
body systems, such as the heart or urinary tract.
Congenital heart defects. Heart defects range from mild to life threatening.
Children born with heart defects also have a higher rate of problems in the
urinary tract than children in the general population, suggesting that some
types of heart and urinary defects may have a common genetic cause.