Autopsy Case of Pfeiffer Syndrome Type 2, a Phenotype of FGF
Pfeiffer syndrome (PS) is a fibroblast growth factor receptor (FGFR)-associated craniosynostosis syndrome, characterized by abnormally broad and medially deviated thumbs and great toes. Tracheal cartilage sleeve (TCS) is associated with several FGFR-associated craniosynostosis syndromes, including PS. TCS is an airway malformation in which the tracheal cartilage rings fuse with each other to form a sleeve of cartilage.

The patient was a 4-year-old girl with PS, TCS, and abnormal hyperplasia of non-fused intrapulmonary cartilages. The patient showed cranial dysplasia on prenatal ultrasonography. At birth, a cloverleaf skull in association with hydrocephalus and digital malformations was apparent. These findings were consistent with PS type 2. The diagnosis of PS type 2 was confirmed from a genetic test detecting a FGFR2 mutation (Y340C).

During the clinical course, she underwent several surgeries, including ventriculoperitoneal shunts, sequential cranioplasty surgeries, and tracheotomy due to upper airway abnormalities. At 4 years old, she died of multiple organ failure following aspiration pneumonia. The autopsy revealed that the tracheal cartilages had fused with each other, resulting in a condition called TCS, in which the cartilage rings and tracheal ligaments were absent. The lungs were poorly aerated, and the dilated bronchi had thickened walls surrounded by many cartilage fragments, mainly at the hilum. These cartilages tended to overlap at both ends, did not fuse, and were greatly altered in size and shape.

Authors report the results of autopsy for PS with the first histopathological findings for the lungs and other visceral organs.