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What is VATER syndrome?

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VATER syndrome is an acronym of the five different areas of the body in which babies manifest abnormalities, explains About.com. The letters in the name signify the vertebrae, anus, trachea, esophagus and renal, or kidneys. Sometimes cardiac and limb conditions are added to the name, making it VACTERL.

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VATER or VACTERL abnormalities are thought to be linked by a common gene and occur in the baby's mesoderm during development, according to Arizona State University. A baby needs to manifest abnormalities in three of the areas to have VATER syndrome. Some vertebral anomalies include a small or misshapen spine that can result in scoliosis and lordosis, a condition in which the spine curves inward. A large percentage of children with VACTERYL syndrome have vertebrae problems.

Some anal defects associated with VATER syndrome include the anus opening being closed or a misconnection between the rectum, colon and other organs, states Arizona State University. Babies need immediate surgery to correct this problem. Abnormalities also occur in the trachea and esophagus; they are often underdeveloped or closed off. Because babies can choke on saliva due to VATER syndrome, surgery occurs closely after birth to rectify the situation. Finally, a baby with VATER syndrome can have renal or kidney problems associated with blood or urine flow. Sometimes one or both kidneys can fail.

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