Williams Syndrome Medical Concerns


Any or all of the following symptoms may be found: low birth weight followed by slow weight gain and/or weight loss; poor feeding and excessive vomiting; sleep problems and irritability; delayed growth and delay in meeting developmental targets; raised calcium level; dehydration, constipation and hernias.

Heart Issues

Most WS individuals have a slight narrowing of the aorta above the aortic valve. In many cases this is insignificant but it can be detected on cardiac ultrasound and should be monitored. Other more serious heart and vascular abnormalities can occur.

Issues Later On

These may include hyperactivity in the early years and high verbal ability, leading to excessive talking and uninhibited behaviour, over-friendliness with strangers and a compulsion to talk to adults, often in an inappropriate manner.

Contrarily, people with Williams Syndrome find it hard to make or sustain friendships with people their own age. They often have obsessional interests (cars, trains, vacuum cleaners) but low cognitive ability and a short attention span.

Many have hypersensitive hearing, with fears of loud noises, heights and open stairs/escalators/lifts, and often exhibit exaggerated reactions to happiness and excitement, fear and sadness.


There is no cure for Williams Syndrome as it is not an illness, and there is no way to predict or prevent the genetic abnormality that causes it. Medical and Allied Health professionals should be consulted with to develop an early intervention plan for potential medical problems and to help reduce developmental and cognitive delays as much as possible.

Please see clinical guidelines for people with Williams Syndrome below:

1. Health Care Supervision for Children with Williams Syndrome (American Academy of Paediatrics)
2. Management of Williams Syndrome (Williams Syndrome Guideline Development Group UK)
3. Guidelines for General Anaesthesia