VACTERL association: A nonrandom association of birth defects. VACTERL is a mnemonic in which the letters each stand for one or more type of malformation:
of the thumb or the radius bone in the
The VACTERL association has been recurrently observed in newborn babies. It is more common in the children of diabetic mothers than in the general population. For some years that was all that was known about the cause of the VACTERL association. The VACTERL association has been linked to inhibition of cholesterol synthesis and down-regulation (the damping down) of a biochemical pathway in the shaping of the embryo that requires cholesterol. Treatment involves surgery to correct the physical defects, as possible.
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Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016