What is the definition of Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome (RTS) is a genetic disease. It involves broad thumbs and toes, short stature, distinctive facial features, and varying degrees of intellectual disability.

What are the alternative names for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Rubinstein syndrome, RTS

What are the causes for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

RTS is a rare condition. Variations in the genes CREBBP and EP300 are seen in some people with this condition.

Some people are missing the gene entirely. This is more typical in people with more severe problems.

Most cases are sporadic (not passed down through families). They are likely due to a new genetic defect that occurs either in the sperm or egg cells, or at the time of conception.

What are the symptoms for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Symptoms include:

  • Broadening of the thumbs and big toes
  • Constipation
  • Excess hair on body (hirsutism)
  • Heart defects, possibly requiring surgery
  • Intellectual disability
  • Seizures
  • Short stature that is noticeable after birth
  • Slow development of cognitive skills
  • Slow development of motor skills accompanied by low muscle tone

Other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Absent or extra kidney, and other problems with kidney or bladder
  • An underdeveloped bone in the midface
  • Unsteady or stiff walking gait
  • Downward-slanted eyes
  • Low-set ears or malformed ears
  • Drooping eyelid (ptosis)
  • Cataracts
  • Coloboma (a defect in the iris of the eye)
  • Microcephaly (excessively small head)
  • Narrow, small, or recessed mouth with crowded teeth
  • Prominent or "beaked" nose
  • Thick and arched eyebrows with long eyelashes
  • Undescended testicle (cryptorchidism), or other testicular problems

What are the current treatments for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

There is no specific treatment for RTS. However, the following treatments can be used to manage problems commonly associated with the condition.

  • Surgery to repair the bones in the thumbs or toes can sometimes improve grasp or relieve discomfort.
  • Early intervention programs and special education to address developmental disabilities.
  • Referral to behavioral specialists and support groups for family members.
  • Medical treatment for heart defects, hearing loss, and eye abnormalities.
  • Treatment for constipation and gastroesophageal reflux (GERD).

What are the support groups for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Rubinstein-Taybi Parents Group USA: www.rubinstein-taybi.com

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

The majority of children can learn to read at an elementary level. The majority of children have delayed motor development, but on average, they learn to walk by 2 1/2 years of age.

What are the possible complications for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Complications depend on what part of the body is affected. Complications may include:

  • Feeding problems in infants
  • Repeated ear infections and hearing loss
  • Problems with the shape of the heart
  • Abnormal heartbeat
  • Scarring of the skin

When should I contact a medical professional for Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

An appointment with a geneticist is recommended if the provider finds signs of RTS.

How do I prevent Rubinstein-Taybi Syndrome?

Genetic counseling is advised for couples with a family history of this disease who are planning a pregnancy.


Burkardt DD, Graham JM. Abnormal body size and proportion. In: Ryeritz RE, Korf BR, Grody WW, eds. Emery and Rimoin's Principles and Practice of Medical Genetics and Genomics. 7th ed. Cambridge, MA: Elsevier Academic Press; 2019:chap 4.

Nussbaum RL, McInnes RR, Willard HF. Developmental genetics and birth defects. In: Nussbaum RL, McInnes RR, Willard HF, eds. Thompson & Thompson Genetics in Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 14.

Stevens CA. Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome. Gene Reviews. 2014;8. PMID: 20301699 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20301699. Updated August 7, 2014. Accessed July 30, 2019.

  • Condition: Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome
  • Journal: The Journal of hand surgery, European volume
  • Treatment Used: Non-vascularized Toe Phalanx Transfer
  • Number of Patients: 9
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of non-vascularized toe phalanx transfer for correction of severe clinodactyly of the thumb in Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome.