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Controversies in Poland Syndrome: Alternative Diagnoses in Patients With Congenital Pectoral Muscle Deficiency.

PURPOSE: Poland syndrome was first described as a deficiency of the pectoral muscle with ipsilateral symbrachydactyly. Currently, numerous case reports describe variations of Poland syndrome in which pectoral muscle deficiency is often used as the only defining criterion. However, more syndromes can present with pectoral muscle deficiency. The aim of this review is to illustrate the diversity of the phenotypic spectrum of Poland syndrome and to create more awareness for alternative diagnoses in pectoral muscle deficiency.

METHODS: A systematic literature search was performed. Articles containing phenotypical descriptions of Poland syndrome were included. Data extraction included number of patients, sex, familial occurrence, and the definition of Poland syndrome used. In addition, hand deformities, thoracic deformities, and other deformities in each patient were recorded. Alternative syndrome diagnoses were identified in patients with a combination of hand, thorax, and other deformities.

RESULTS: One hundred-and-thirty-six articles were included, describing 627 patients. Ten different definitions of Poland syndrome were utilized. In 58% of the cases, an upper extremity deformity was found and 43% of the cases had an associated deformity. Classic Poland syndrome was seen in 29%. Fifty-seven percent of the patients with a pectoral malformation, a hand malformation, and another deformity had at least 1feature that matched an alternative syndrome.

CONCLUSIONS: Pectoral muscle hypoplasia is not distinctive for Poland syndrome alone but is also present in syndromes with other associated anomalies with a recognized genetic cause. Therefore, in patients with an atypical phenotype, we recommend considering other diagnoses and/or syndromes before diagnosing a patient with Poland syndrome. This can prevent diagnostic and prognostic errors.

CLINICAL RELEVANCE: Differentiating Poland syndrome from the alternative diagnoses has serious consequences for the patient and their family in terms of inheritance and possible related anomalies.

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