Trisomy 18 (cont.)

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Can people with trisomy 18 survive to adulthood?

Survival to adulthood is extremely rare in trisomy 18. However, a few reports have described individuals who survived to the teen or early adult years. These young adults require supportive caregiving and are not able to live independently.

Is there any treatment for trisomy 18?

Treatment for trisomy 18 is supportive, meaning that the condition cannot be cured, and treatments are directed at prolonging survival and managing complications. Common treatment measures include nutritional support, treatment of infections, transfusions for low blood cell counts, and medications such as diuretics and/or digoxin to manage heart failure. Heart failure and pneumonia are common causes of death in people with trisomy 18.


Chen, Harold, and Bruce Buehler. "Trisomy 18." 11 Aug. 2011. <>.

Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD). "Trisomy 18." NIH Office of Rare Diseases Research. <>.

Genetics Home Reference. "Trisomy 18." U.S. National Library of Medicine. 30 Jan. 2012. <>.

"What Is Trisomy 18?" Trisomy 18 Foundation. 2010. <>.

Last Editorial Review: 2/2/2012

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