Reviewed April 2006
What is Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome is a condition that causes profound hearing loss from birth and a disruption of the heart's normal rhythm (arrhythmia). This disorder is a form of long QT syndrome, which is a heart condition that causes the heart (cardiac) muscle to take longer than usual to recharge between beats. Beginning in early childhood, the irregular heartbeats increase the risk of fainting (syncope) and sudden death.
How common is Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome is uncommon; it affects an estimated 1.6 to 6 per 1 million people worldwide. This condition has a higher prevalence in Denmark, where it affects at least 1 in 200,000 people.
What genes are related to Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
Mutations in the KCNE1 and KCNQ1 genes cause Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome.
The KCNE1 and KCNQ1 genes provide instructions for making proteins that work together to form a channel across cell membranes. These channels transport positively charged potassium atoms (ions) out of cells. The movement of potassium ions through these channels is critical for maintaining the normal functions of inner ear structures and cardiac muscle.
About 90 percent of cases of Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome are caused by mutations in the KCNQ1 gene; KCNE1 mutations are responsible for the remaining cases. Mutations in these genes alter the usual structure and function of potassium channels or prevent the assembly of normal channels. These changes disrupt the flow of potassium ions in the inner ear and in cardiac muscle, leading to hearing loss and an irregular heart rhythm characteristic of Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome.
Read more about the KCNE1 and KCNQ1 genes.
How do people inherit Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
This condition is inherited in an autosomal recessive pattern, which means both copies of the gene in each cell have mutations. Most often, the parents of a child with an autosomal recessive disorder are not affected, but are carriers of one copy of the mutated gene. Some carriers of a KCNQ1 or KCNE1 mutation have signs and symptoms affecting the heart, but their hearing is usually normal.
Where can I find information about treatment for Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
These resources address the management of Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome and may include treatment providers.
You might also find information on treatment of Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome in
Educational resources and Patient support.
Where can I find additional information about Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
You may find the following resources about Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome helpful. These materials are written for the general public.
You may also be interested in these resources, which are designed for healthcare professionals and researchers.
What other names do people use for Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
- Cardio-auditory-syncope syndrome
- Cardioauditory syndrome of Jervell and Lange-Nielsen
- Jervell-Lange Nielsen Syndrome
- Surdo-cardiac syndrome
What if I still have specific questions about Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
Where can I find general information about genetic conditions?
The Handbook provides basic information about genetics in clear language.
These links provide additional genetics resources that may be useful.
What glossary definitions help with understanding Jervell and Lange-Nielsen syndrome?
The resources on this site should not be used as a substitute for
professional medical care or advice. Users seeking information about
a personal genetic disease, syndrome, or condition should consult with a qualified
See How can I find a genetics professional in my area? in the Handbook.