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Children's Health

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Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum

It is possible that the main title of the report Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • FAV
  • Goldenhar-Gorlin Syndrome
  • First and Second Branchial Arch Syndrome
  • OAV Spectrum
  • Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Dysplasia
  • Facio-Auriculo-Vertebral Spectrum
  • OAVS

Disorder Subdivisions

  • Oculo-Auriculo-Vertebral Disorder
  • Hemifacial Microsomia (HFM)
  • Goldenhar Syndrome

General Discussion

Oculo-auriculo-vertebral spectrum (OAVS) refers to three rare disorders that many clinicians believe to be intimately related to one another and which represent the range of severity of the same disorder. These disorders are apparent at birth (congenital). As the name suggests, they involve malformations of the eyes, ears and spine.

Oculo-auriculo-vertebral disorder (OAVD) represents the mildest form of the disorder, while Goldenhar syndrome presents frequently as the most severe form. Hemifacial microstomia appears to be an intermediate form.

The disorder is characterized by a wide spectrum of symptoms and physical features that may vary greatly in range and severity from case to case. However, such abnormalities tend to involve the cheekbones, jaw, mouth, ears, eyes, and/or bones of the spinal column (vertebrae). Although, in most cases (about 60%), such malformations affect one side of the body (unilateral), approximately 10 to 33 percent of affected individuals have such malformations on both sides of the body (bilateral), with one side typically more affected than the other (asymmetry). In the majority of such cases, the right side is more severely affected than the left.

In most cases OAVS appears to occur randomly, with no apparent cause (sporadic). However, in some cases, family histories suggest autosomal dominant or recessive inheritance. In addition, some researchers suggest that the disorder may be caused by the interaction of many genes, possibly in combination with environmental factors (multifactorial inheritance).


Children's Craniofacial Association
13140 Coit Road
Suite 517
Dallas, TX 75240
Tel: (214)570-9099
Fax: (214)570-8811
Tel: (800)535-3643

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763
Tel: (888)663-4637

FACES: The National Craniofacial Association
PO Box 11082
Chattanooga, TN 37401
Tel: (423)266-1632
Fax: (423)267-3124
Tel: (800)332-2373

National Association for Parents of Children with Visual Impairments (NAPVI)
P.O. Box 317
Watertown, MA 02272-0317
Tel: (617)972-7441
Fax: (617)972-7444
Tel: (800)562-6265

National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Tel: (212)889-2210
Fax: (212)689-9261
Tel: (800)622-9010

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
2200 Research Boulevard
Rockville, MD 20850-3289
United States
Tel: (301)296-5700
Fax: (301)296-8580
Tel: (800)638-8255

Ear Anomalies Reconstructed: Atresia/Microtia Support Group
72 Durand Road
Maplewood, NJ 07040
Tel: (973)761-5438
Fax: (973)378-8930

NIH/National Eye Institute
31 Center Dr
MSC 2510
Bethesda, MD 20892-2510
United States
Tel: (301)496-5248
Fax: (301)402-1065

NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
P.O. Box 30105
Bethesda, MD 20892-0105
Tel: (301)592-8573
Fax: (301)251-1223

Goldenhar Syndrome Support Network Society
PO Box 751112
Las Vegas, NV 89136-1112
Fax: (702)341-5351
Tel: (888)486-1209

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311
TDD: (888)205-3223

Atresia/Microtia Online E-mail Support Group

Madisons Foundation
PO Box 241956
Los Angeles, CA 90024
Tel: (310)264-0826
Fax: (310)264-4766

American Academy of Audiology
11730 Plaza America Drive, Suite 300
Reston, VA 20190
Tel: (703)790-8466
Fax: (703)790-8631
Tel: (800)222-2336

Cleft Lip and Palate Foundation of Smiles
2044 Michael Ave SW
Wyoming, MI 49509
Tel: (616)329-1335

For a Complete Report:

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated: 9/23/2007
Copyright 1987, 1989, 1994, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2006, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

Last Updated: May 28, 2015
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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