Dysmorphology at a distance: Results of a web-based diagnostic service

S. Douzgou*, J. Clayton-Smith, S. Gardner, R. Day, P. Griffiths, K. Strong, Gabriele Gillessen-Kaesbach

*Corresponding author for this work
7 Citations (Scopus)


In 2007, the DYSCERNE pilot project funded by the European Commission Public Health Executive Agency (EU DG Sanco) aimed at setting up a network of expertise for patients with rare dysmorphic disorders. As part of DYSCERNE, a Dysmorphology Diagnostic System (DDS) was set up to enable clinicians throughout the EU to submit cases electronically for diagnosis using a secure, web-based interface, hosted at specified access points (Submitting nodes), in 26 different European countries. We report the outcome of this service for 200 cases submitted consecutively between January 2010 and 2012. Each case was reviewed by an average of five expert reviewers. An average of three possible syndromic diagnoses was suggested per case. In 22.5% of the cases, a consensus clinical diagnosis was reached. Genetic testing was suggested in 70.5% of the cases, whereas other laboratory investigations and diagnostic imaging were recommended in 35.5 and 26% of the cases, respectively. Further specialized opinions were suggested in 23.5% of the cases. Overall, a total of 181 very rare or extremely rare genetic syndromes were considered in the differential diagnosis of the 200 cases. In two cases, the reviewers suggested that the findings represented a new syndrome, and in one of these syndromes the underlying genetic cause was subsequently identified. Other benefits of the submission process included the possibility of directing the case submitters to specific centres for diagnostic testing or participation in research and educational benefit derived for both case submitters and reviewers.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)327-332
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 01.03.2014


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