Ellis Van Creveld Syndrome

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Ellis Van Creveld Syndrome is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • chondroectodermal dysplasia
  • mesoectodermal dysplasia
  • EVC

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome is a rare genetic disorder characterized by short limb dwarfism, additional fingers and/or toes (polydactyly), abnormal development of fingernails and, in over half of the cases, congenital heart defects. Motor development and intelligence are normal. This disorder is inherited as an autosomal recessive condition.


Individuals with Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome typically have arms and legs that are abnormally short while the head and trunk are normal. Extra fingers (polydactyly) are present in all patients with this condition and both hands are usually affected. Ectodermal abnormalities include abnormal development of hair, nails and teeth.

More than fifty percent of the patients with Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome are born with malformations of the heart. The most common heart defect is an abnormal opening in the wall between the two upper heart chambers (atrial septal defect). Other types of heart defects have also been reported including ventricular septal defects and patent ductus arteriosis.

Some boys with this condition have been described with undescended testicles (cryptorchidism) or an abnormally located opening of the urine canal in the penis (epispadias). Abnormalities in the chest wall, spine and respiratory system have also been reported.


Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome is associated with abnormalities (mutations) in two genes on the number 4 chromosome called EVC and EVC2. These gene mutations result in the production of abnormally small EVC and EVC2 proteins. Some affected individuals do not have mutations in these genes, so it is likely that other unknown genes are also responsible for EVC.

Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome is inherited as an autosomal recessive genetic condition. Recessive genetic disorders occur when an individual inherits two copies of an abnormal gene for the same trait, one from each parent. If an individual receives one normal gene and one gene for the disease, the person will be a carrier for the disease. Some individuals who carry one copy of the EVC or EVC2 gene have a condition called Weyers acrofacial dysostosis, described in the Related Disorders section of this report. The risk for two carrier parents to both pass the defective gene and have an affected child is 25% with each pregnancy. The risk to have a child who is a carrier like the parents is 50% with each pregnancy. The chance for a child to receive normal genes from both parents and be genetically normal for that particular trait is 25%. The risk is the same for males and females.

All individuals carry a number of abnormal genes. Parents who are close relatives (consanguineous) have a higher chance than unrelated parents to both carry the same abnormal gene, which increases the risk to have children with a recessive genetic disorder.

Affected Populations

Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome occurs in many ethnic groups throughout the world and effects males and females in equal numbers. This condition has been reported in approximately 150 individuals. It is more common in the Old Order Amish population of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania and in the native population of Western Australia.

Standard Therapies


Ellis-Van-Creveld syndrome is diagnosed by the observation of short stature, slow growth, skeletal abnormalities determined by imaging techniques and sometimes teeth present at birth (natal teeth). Molecular genetic testing for the EVC and EVC2 genes is available on a research basis only. Prenatal diagnosis is possible by ultrasound.


It is often necessary to treat respiratory distress shortly after birth that results from a narrow chest and/or heart failure. Natal teeth should be removed because they can interfere with feeding.

The treatment of Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome is directed toward the specific symptoms that are apparent in each individual. Such treatment may require the coordinated efforts of a team of medical professionals, such as pediatricians, surgeons, cardiologists, dentists, pulmonologists, orthopedists, urologists, physical and occupational therapists and/or other health care professionals.

Genetic counseling is recommended for affected individuals and their families.

Investigational Therapies

Information on current clinical trials is posted on the Internet at www.clinicaltrials.gov. All studies receiving U.S. Government funding, and some supported by private industry, are posted on this government web site.

For information about clinical trials being conducted at the NIH Clinical Center in Bethesda, MD, contact the NIH Patient Recruitment Office:

Tollfree: (800) 411-1222

TTY: (866) 411-1010

Email: prpl@cc.nih.gov

For information about clinical trials sponsored by private sources, contact:


Contact for additional information about Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome:

Dr. Genevieve Baujat

Centre de Référence Maladies Osseuses Constitutionnelles

Département de Génétique

Hôpital Necker-Enfants malades


secrétariat 0142192713

bureau 0171196418



Tompson SW, Ruiz-Perez VL, Blair HJ, et al. Sequencing EVC and EVC2 identifies mutations in two-thirds of Ellis-van Creveld syndrome patients. Hum Genet. 2007;120:663-670.

Ye X, Song G, Fan M, et al. A novel heterozygous deletion in the EVC2 gene causes Weyers acrofacial dysostosis. Hum Genet. 2006;119:199-205.

McKusick VA. Ellis-van Creveld syndrome and the Amish. Nat Genet. 2000;24(3):283-6.

Ruiz-Perez VL, Ide SE, Strom TM, et al. : Mutations in a new gene in Ellis-van Creveld syndrome and Weyers acrodental dysostosis. Nature Genet. 2000 ;24:283-286.

Goldblatt J, Minutillo C, Pemberton P, Hurst J. Ellis-van Creveld syndrome in a western Australian Aboriginal community: postaxial polydactyly as a heterozygous manifestation? Med J Aust. 1992;157:271.


Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM). The Johns Hopkins University. Ellis-Van Creveld Syndrome; EVC. Entry No: 225500. Last Edited September 30, 2011. Available at: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/omim/. Accessed May 29, 2012.

Chen H. Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome. Emedicine. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/943684-overview. Updated August 11, 2011. Accessed May 29, 2012.

Baujat G, Le Merrer M. Ellis-Van Creveld syndrome. Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases.

http://www.ojrd.com/content/2/1/27. June 4, 2007. Accessed May 29, 2012.


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MAGIC Foundation

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National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasias

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Restricted Growth Association

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Coalition for Heritable Disorders of Connective Tissue (CHDCT)

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Tel: (202)362-9599

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Email: chdct@pxe.org

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Ellis-van Creveld Syndrome Foundation

17 Bridlewood Trail

Honeoye Falls, NY 14472


Tel: (585)737-1500

Email: PattiMO44@aol.com

Internet: http://www.ellis-vancreveldsyndrome.org/

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

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Ellis-van Creveld Syndrome Web Site

Email: evc@crydee.plus.com

Internet: http://www.ellisvancreveld.co.uk

Madisons Foundation

PO Box 241956

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Tel: (310)264-0826

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Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org

Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

European Skeletal Dysplasia Network

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Newcastle University

International Centre for Life

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For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.® (NORD). Cigna members can access the complete report by logging into myCigna.com. For non-Cigna members, a copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html.