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Evaluation of newborn screening for medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in 275 000 babies
  1. K Carpenterb,
  2. V Wileya,
  3. K G Simb,
  4. D Heatha,
  5. B Wilckena,b
  1. aNew South Wales Newborn Screening Programme, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Sydney, Australia, bBiochemical Genetics Service, The Children's Hospital at Westmead
  1. Dr Wilcken, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Locked Bag 4001, Westmead, NSW 2145, AustraliaBridgetw{at}


OBJECTIVE To evaluate newborn screening by tandem mass spectrometry for detection of medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency, a fatty acid oxidation disorder with significant mortality in undiagnosed patients.

DESIGN The following were studied: (a) 13 clinically detected MCAD deficient subjects, most homozygous for the common A985G mutation, whose newborn screening sample was available; (b) 275 653 consecutive neonates undergoing routine newborn screening. Screened infants with blood octanoylcarnitine levels ⩾ 1 μmol/l were analysed for the A985G mutation, had analysis of plasma and repeat blood spot acylcarnitines and urinary organic acids, and had fibroblast fatty acid oxidation or acylcarnitine studies.

RESULT Twelve of the 13 patients later diagnosed clinically had newborn octanoylcarnitine levels > 2.3 μmol/l. Twenty three screened babies had initial octanoylcarnitine levels ⩾ 1 μmol/l. Eleven of 12 babies with persistent abnormalities had metabolite and/or enzyme studies indicating MCAD deficiency. Only four were homozygous for the A985G mutation, the remainder carrying one copy.

CONCLUSIONS Most patients with symptomatic MCAD deficiency could be detected by newborn screening. Infants actually detected had a lower frequency of A985G alleles than clinically diagnosed cases and may have a lower risk of becoming symptomatic.

  • acylcarnitines
  • octanoylcarnitine
  • fatty acid oxidation
  • acylglycines
  • Reye syndrome
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