Genetic conditions comprise a wide spectrum of different phenotypes, rapidly expanding due to new diagnostic methodologies. Patients’ facial features and clinical history represent the key elements leading clinicians to the right diagnosis. CDKL5-early onset epilepsy and Pitt-Hopkins syndrome are two well-known genetic conditions, with a defined phenotype sharing some common characteristics like early-onset epilepsy and hyperventilation episodes. Whilst facial features represent a diagnostic handle in patients with Pitt-Hopkins syndrome, clinical history is crucial in patients carrying a mutation in CDKL5. Here we present the clinical case of a girl evaluated for the first time when she was 24-years old, with a clinical phenotype mimicking Pitt-Hopkins syndrome. Her facial features have become coarser while she was growing up, leading geneticists to raise different clinical hypotheses and to perform several molecular tests before getting the diagnosis of CDKL5-early-epileptic encephalopathy. This finding highlights that although typical facial gestalt has not so far extensively been described in CDKL5 mutated adult patients, peculiar facial features could be present later in life and may let CDKL5-related disorder mimic Pitt Hopkins. Thus, considering atypical Rett syndrome in the differential diagnosis of Pitt Hopkins syndrome could be important to solve complex clinical cases.
- Differential diagnosis
- Overlapping phenotypes