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Kartagener Syndrome

Kartagener syndrome, a rare inherited birth defect, is a type of primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD), a condition marked by frequent infections of the lungs, ears, throat, and sinuses that continue into adulthood.

About 50 percent of patients with PCD may have Kartagener's Syndrome. The unique symptom for this condition is the positioning of the internal organs in the opposite direction, such as the heart located on the right side rather than the left. The reversed organs usually do not pose a problem.

There is currently no cure for Kartagener syndrome, but affected individuals can be treated for their symptoms with:

  • Antibiotics to treat respiratory infections
  • Tubes for the ears to prevent frequent ear infections

Because of their susceptibility to pneumonia and infections, children with Kartagener syndrome should prevent sickness by:

  • Getting immunized
  • Avoiding tobacco smoke
  • Exercising regularly

In many individuals, the number of respiratory infections begins to decrease by about age 20, and as a result many people with Kartagener syndrome have near normal adult lives.