Bartter syndrome is not a single disorder; it’s a group of disorders occurring together. The disorder is rare and affects the kidney. In most cases the disorder manifests before birth. Pregnant mothers carrying a bartter syndrome child typically suffer from polyhydramniosis; which is an accumulation of excess fluid around the fetus. The fluid tends to accumulate around 4-5 of gestation and requires frequent amniocentisis to withdrawal the excess fluid. As a result of the extra fluid around the fetus, premature birth is common among bartter syndrome children. Premature delivered bartter syndrome newborns are presented with life-threatening conditions like dehydration; due to the inability of the kidney to absorb salts. There is evidence of morbidity in bartter syndrome children due to dehydration and cardiac arrest, as a result of low potassium level.
Bartter syndrome is a potassium wasting disorder that leads to a loss of other electrolytes in the body like magnesium, sodium and calcium. The disorder is difficult to diagnose and is often overlooked. It may take a great deal of time for treatment to correct the effects of the disorder; therefore, early diagnosis and prevention are essential. Some children born premature may present with complications, such as; growth retardation, developmental delay, frequent urination, eating disorders, anorexia, sleeping disorders, muscle weakness, nocturia, sleep apnea, respiratory problems, asthma, bone pain, electrolyte imbalances, acidic blood levels. Additional characteristics that may present are: mental retardation, deafness, kidney stones, kidney failure. There can be abnormalities in the heart, due to low potassium levels, that can lead to sudden cardiac arrest and death. Bartter syndrome consists of over thirty different symptoms.