Cross-sectional observational study of 208 patients with non-classical urea cycle disorders

Corinne M. Rüegger, Martin Lindner, Diana Ballhausen, Matthias R. Baumgartner, Skadi Beblo, Anibh Das, Matthias Gautschi, Esther M. Glahn, Sarah C. Grünert, Julia Hennermann, Michel Hochuli, Martina Huemer, Daniela Karall, Stefan Kölker, Robin H. Lachmann, Amelie Lotz-Havla, Dorothea Möslinger, Jean-Marc Nuoffer, Barbara Plecko, Frank RutschRené Santer, Ute Spiekerkoetter, Christian Staufner, Tamar Stricker, Frits A. Wijburg, Monique Williams, Peter Burgard, Johannes Häberle

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Urea cycle disorders (UCDs) are inherited disorders of ammonia detoxification often regarded as mainly of relevance to pediatricians. Based on an increasing number of case studies it has become obvious that a significant number of UCD patients are affected by their disease in a non-classical way: presenting outside the newborn period, following a mild course, presenting with unusual clinical features, or asymptomatic patients with only biochemical signs of a UCD. These patients are surviving into adolescence and adulthood, rendering this group of diseases clinically relevant to adult physicians as well as pediatricians. In preparation for an international workshop we collected data on all patients with non-classical UCDs treated by the participants in 20 European metabolic centres. Information was collected on a cohort of 208 patients 50% of which were ≥ 16 years old. The largest subgroup (121 patients) had X-linked ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency (OTCD) of whom 83 were female and 29% of these were asymptomatic. In index patients, there was a mean delay from first symptoms to diagnosis of 1.6 years. Cognitive impairment was present in 36% of all patients including female OTCD patients (in 31%) and those 41 patients identified presymptomatically following positive newborn screening (in 12%). In conclusion, UCD patients with non-classical clinical presentations require the interest and care of adult physicians and have a high risk of neurological complications. To improve the outcome of UCDs, a greater awareness by health professionals of the importance of hyperammonemia and UCDs, and ultimately avoidance of the still long delay to correctly diagnose the patients, is crucial
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-30
JournalJournal of Inherited Metabolic Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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