Nonsurgical Treatment for Marfan Syndrome

At NYU Langone, treatment for Marfan syndrome may include medications and devices to help ease or correct symptoms, such as pain, nearsightedness, and scoliosis.

Medications

Doctors may prescribe medications that help prevent or slow the progression of problems with the aorta or manage pain associated with Marfan syndrome.

Beta Blockers

These medications, taken by mouth, lower blood pressure, which can prevent or slow the enlargement of the aorta. Beta blockers may reduce the risk of an aortic dissection, which is a tear in the aortic wall, or an aortic aneurysm, which is a bulging of the aortic wall that can lead to rupture.

Angiotensin Receptor Blockers

Angiotensin receptor blockers, taken by mouth, relax blood vessels. This relaxation can ease blood flow, alleviate stress on the aorta, and reduce the risk of aortic dissection and aortic aneurysm.

Pain Medications

Your doctor may prescribe medications to treat joint pain or the pain of dural ectasia, a swelling of the membrane that surrounds the spinal cord. Sometimes, an over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, is recommended.

Assistive Devices

For some people with Marfan syndrome, assistive devices can help improve mobility or eyesight.

Orthopaedic Braces

Marfan syndrome sometimes causes bones to form improperly, particularly during adolescence when children tend to grow quickly. Your NYU Langone physician may consult an orthopaedic doctor to fit your child for a brace, which can help limit bone malformations. 

For scoliosis with a 20 to 40 percent curvature, a personally fitted back brace may be recommended to prevent the condition from worsening, particularly during periods of rapid growth. Your child must wear it 23 hours a day, with breaks only for bathing. 

Curvatures of less than 20 percent may not warrant a brace, and curvatures of more than 40 percent may require surgery.

Eyeglasses or Contact Lenses

Marfan syndrome can cause the lenses of the eyes to dislocate, a condition called ectopia lentis. This can lead to nearsightedness or astigmatism—blurred vision caused by an irregularly curved eye. 

If you develop ectopia lentis in one or both eyes, your doctor may recommend special eyeglasses or contact lenses to correct your vision. An NYU Langone ophthalmologist can determine whether your eyes require aphakic glasses. These thick prescription lenses bypass the eye’s natural lens to magnify objects in the field of vision. 

Another option is flat contact lenses to fit a lack of curvature in the eye, which can interfere with vision. Some people choose surgery to correct the dislocation of the eye lenses.

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