Association (dysmorphology)
In dysmorphology (the study of birth defects), the term "association" has a special meaning, namely, it is the nonrandom occurrence in two or more individuals of a pattern of multiple anomalies (birth defects) not known to be a malformation syndrome (such as Down syndrome), a malformation sequence (of events) or what is called a polytopic field defect (in which all of the defects are concentrated in one particular area of the body). An example of an association in dysmorphology is the VATER association of birth defects. VATER is an mnemonic in which the V, A, T, E, and R each stand for one or more type of malformation: V = Vertebral anomalies; and V = Ventricular septal defects and other heart defects; A = Anal atresia (no hole at the bottom end of the intestine); TE = TracheoEsophageal fistula (communication between the esophagus and trachea) with esophageal atresia (part of the esophagus is not hollow); R = Radial dysplasia (abnormal formation of the thumb or the radius in the forearm); and R= Renal (kidney) abnormalities.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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