VATER Syndrome

VATER syndrome is condition that happens when different body parts do not form properly while a fetus is developing. VATER is an acronym for the body parts affected. Causes VATER syndrome are unknown. However, genetic factors may play a role.

The VATER acronym stands these parts of the body:

V — Vertebrae (bones of the spinal column)
A — Anus
T — Trachea (the windpipe)
E — Esophagus (the tube food enters when you swallow)
R —Renal (kidney)

There may also be abnormalities of the heart and legs and/or arms.

The Northwestern Medicine Congenital Urology Program provides comprehensive treatment and care for patients with VATER Syndrome.

Urologic Care for VATER Syndrome

The type of urology care depends on the type of abnormality of the kidneys. Typical problems include:

  • The abnormal flow of urine (vesicoureteral reflux or VUR)
  • The kidney does not develop (renal agenesis)
  • Cysts on or in the kidneys
  • Duplicated kidneys (the kidney has two drains instead of one)

Treatment For VATER Syndrome

VATER is different in each case. The physician will do an exam and possibly order tests such as ultrasounds. Treatment will depend on the results of the test and the type of condition.