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Original Contribution |

Clinical, Biochemical, and Genetic Heterogeneity in Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency FREE

Bianca T. van Maldegem, MD; Marinus Duran, PhD; Ronald J. A. Wanders, PhD; Klary E. Niezen-Koning, PhD; Marije Hogeveen, MD; Lodewijk Ijlst; Hans R. Waterham, PhD; Frits A. Wijburg, MD, PhD
[+] Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Department of Pediatrics (Drs van Maldegem and Wijburg), Laboratory Genetic Metabolic Diseases (Drs Duran, Wanders, and Waterham, and Mr Ijlst), Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, the Netherlands; Research Laboratory, Department of Pediatrics, University Medical Center, University of Groningen, Groningen, the Netherlands (Dr Niezen-Koning); Department of Metabolic Diseases, University Medical Center Nijmegen, Nijmegen, the Netherlands (Dr Hogeveen).

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JAMA. 2006;296(8):943-952. doi:10.1001/jama.296.8.943.
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Context Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficiency (SCADD) is an autosomal recessive, clinically heterogeneous disorder with only 22 case reports published so far. Screening for SCADD is included in expanded newborn screening programs in most US and Australian states.

Objectives To describe the genetic, biochemical, and clinical characteristics of SCADD patients in the Netherlands and their SCADD relatives and to explore the genotype to phenotype relation.

Design, Setting, and Participants Retrospective study involving 31 Dutch SCADD patients diagnosed between January 1987 and January 2006 and 8 SCADD relatives. SCADD was defined by the presence of (1) increased butyrylcarnitine (C4-C) levels in plasma and/or increased ethylmalonic acid (EMA) levels in urine under nonstressed conditions on at least 2 occasions, in combination with (2) a mutation and/or the c.511C>T or c.625G>A susceptibility variants on each SCAD-encoding (ACADS) allele. Patients were included only if the SCAD-encoding (ACADS) was fully sequenced and if current clinical information could be obtained. Relatives were included when they carried the same ACADS genotype as the proband, and had increased C4-C and/or EMA.

Main Outcome Measures Prevalence, genotype (mutation/mutation, mutation/variant, variant/variant), C4-C and EMA levels, clinical signs and symptoms, and clinical course.

Results A birth-prevalence of at least 1:50 000 was calculated. Most patients presented before the age of 3 years, with nonspecific, generally uncomplicated, and often transient symptoms. Developmental delay, epilepsy, behavioral disturbances, and hypoglycemia were the most frequently reported symptoms. The ACADS genotype showed a statistically significant association with EMA and C4-C levels, but not with clinical characteristics. Seven out of 8 SCADD relatives were free of symptoms.

Conclusions SCADD is far more common than assumed previously, and clinical symptoms in SCADD are nonspecific, generally uncomplicated, often transient, and not correlated with specific ACADS genotypes. Because SCADD does not meet major newborn screening criteria, including a lack of clinical significance in many patients and that it is not possible to differentiate diseased and nondiseased individuals, it is not suited for inclusion in newborn screening programs at the present time.

Figures in this Article

Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A (CoA) dehydrogenase (SCAD; MIM 606885) deficiency (SCADD, MIM 201470) is an autosomal recessive inborn error of mitochondrial fatty acid β-oxidation, presenting with a variety of clinical signs and symptoms. Developmental delay, hyper- and hypotonia, ketotic hypoglycemia, and epilepsy are most frequently reported.19 SCAD is the first enzyme of the short-chain fatty acid β-oxidation spiral, which catalyzes the dehydrogenation of butyryl-CoA (C4-CoA).

When SCAD activity is impaired, its substrate (C4-CoA) will accumulate. The substrate C4-CoA can be converted into different metabolites including (1) the corresponding carnitine (C)-ester, ie, butyrylcarnitine (C4-C), (2) the corresponding glycine-ester (butyrylglycine), (3) butyrate, and (4) ethylmalonic acid (EMA). Butyrylcarnitine can be measured in blood, whereas butyrylglycine and EMA can be measured in urine. The latter 3 metabolites may all be elevated in SCADD, although to different extents.

The diagnosis of SCADD may be confirmed by enzyme activity measurements in muscle, fibroblasts and/or lymphocytes, and by DNA studies.16,813 Enzyme analysis in fibroblasts and lymphocytes, however, demonstrated a remarkably high residual SCAD activity in several individuals with SCADD.4,10,13 Furthermore, SCAD activity measurements in fibroblasts and lymphocytes gave inconsistent results.6,7 Although the enzyme assay might be more reliable when performed in muscle biopsy specimens,10 this approach is generally considered too invasive for routine testing for SCADD. As consistent and significant low enzyme activity will probably be found in patients who are homozygous for an inactivating mutation only,10 DNA analysis appears to be preferable to confirm the diagnosis of SCADD.

The SCAD encoding gene, ACADS, has been localized to the terminal region of the long arm of chromosome 12, spans approximately 13 kb, and consists of 10 exons.14 Until now, 17 different mutations have been reported in patients with SCADD.2,3,57,10,11,13,15,16 Two of these mutations, c.625G>A and c. 511C>T, are common and generally referred to as gene variants.6,7,1719 They are, in contrast to polymorphisms, considered to confer susceptibility for clinical disease.6,18 The majority of SCADD patients are homozygotes or compound heterozygotes for 1 or 2 of the common SCAD gene variants, or for a combination of these SCAD gene variants with a mutation.2,3,57,11,16 These SCAD gene variants have been found in the general population with a prevalence of homozygosity and heterozygosity of approximately 0.3% and 5.6% for the c.511C>T and 5.5% and 31.3% for the c.625G>A variant, respectively.17,18 Assuming Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium, the allele frequency based on the prevalence of homozygotes is 5.5% for the c.511C>T and 23.5% for the c.625G>A variant, respectively. Both gene variants are considered to play a modifying role in the pathogenesis of clinical SCADD, by conferring susceptibility for clinical disease.6,20 Corydon et al6 postulated that certain genetic, cellular, and environmental factors are involved in reducing the catalytic activity of these variant enzymes below a critical threshold, leading to the onset of clinical symptoms. Gregersen et al suggested a role for chaperone-assisted folding and quality control in this regard.21,22 The presence of only these gene variants on both alleles of the ACADS gene might also represent a nondisease, however, only predisposing to certain biochemical characteristics but not to clinical symptoms.18

SCADD appears to be a rare disorder, because until now only 22 genetically confirmed cases have been reported in the literature.213,15,16 However, the potential role of the common gene variants in the development of clinical SCADD suggested a higher incidence of SCADD.6,18

Apart from the case report of 1 patient who appeared to benefit from riboflavin therapy,16 the efficacy of this or other treatments has, to our knowledge, never been systematically studied in a group of SCADD patients. Riboflavin is the precursor of flavin adenine dinucleotide (FAD), and FAD functions as a cofactor for SCAD.

With the development of electrospray tandem mass spectrometry, many countries worldwide recently have expanded their newborn screening program or are preparing to do so in the near future. In the Netherlands, SCADD is not screened for, but screening for SCADD has become part of newborn screening programs in 35 of 51 states in the United States and most Australian states.2325 However, there is no evidence indicating that early detection of SCADD is clinically useful.24 Doubts about the indication for screening for SCADD have been expressed by the Newborn Screening Expert Group of the American College of Medical Genetics, acknowledging the lack of evidence related to the availability of a treatment and a poorly understood natural history.26,27 With the evolution of newborn screening, 3 policy documents have influenced newborn screening programs.28 The latest one, the selection criteria for screening by Frankenburg,29 was published in 1974 and provides 8 criteria based on the report by Wilson and Jungner.30 The first 3 criteria state that (1) the disease or condition screened for should be serious or potentially serious, (2) the condition should be relatively common, and (3) it must be possible to differentiate diseased from nondiseased individuals.29

The purpose of our study was to calculate the prevalence of SCADD in the Netherlands and to document and summarize the genetic, biochemical, and clinical characteristics of the largest group of SCADD patients and their SCADD relatives published so far. Within this group, we determined the relation of genotype to biochemical as well as clinical phenotype. In addition, we used the results of our study to discuss newborn screening for SCADD.

Patients

For this study, SCADD was defined by the presence of (1) increased C4-C level in plasma and/or increased EMA level in urine under nonstressed conditions on at least 2 occasions, in combination with (2) a mutation and/or the c.511C>T or c.625G>A susceptibility variants on each ACADS allele. Only SCADD patients in whom sequence analysis of all exons and flanking intronic sequences had been performed were included. Patients were included only if clinical information, including development scores and school performance as assessed by the treating physician, could be obtained. Unless a complete recovery was achieved or the patients had died, only patients who had been seen within the last year were included.

All 8 metabolic centers in the Netherlands participated in this study. Patients were identified using the SCAD DNA database from the main participating center (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam), which is the only Dutch center where DNA analysis for SCADD is performed, and by contacting all Dutch metabolic centers. A cross-check on missing patients was performed by consulting the Dutch Diagnosis Registration Metabolic Disorders database, a national registry of all patients diagnosed in the Dutch metabolic centers. This search did not reveal any additional SCADD patients, indicating that the complete cohort of Dutch patients meeting the inclusion criteria were available for the study.

Written informed consent to use anonymous patient information for this study was obtained from the parents and/or legal representatives of all patients participating in this study. The study was reviewed and approved by the Medical Ethics Committee of the Academic Medical Center.

Prevalence Calculation

The number of patients diagnosed from January 2003 until January 2006 was used to calculate the birth prevalence in the Netherlands. The birth rate used for this calculation was 200 000 per year (Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics).

DNA Analyses

Mutation analysis of the ACADS gene was performed by sequence analysis of all exons and flanking intronic sequences amplified by polymerase chain reaction from genomic DNA isolated from either fibroblasts or lymphocytes from the patients. Details on primer composition and polymerase chain reaction conditions are available on request. In case of newly identified mutations, sequence analysis of 100 control alleles was performed to rule out the possibility of a polymorphism. Based on their genotype, we divided the patients into 3 groups: mutation/mutation, mutation/variant, and variant/variant.

Biochemistry

The level of EMA in urine was analyzed by gas chromatography/mass spectrometry of its methoxime/trimethylsilyl derivative as part of the organic acid analyses. It was considered to be increased in cases where the concentrations were 15 μmol/mmol or more of creatinine for children younger than 2 years and 8 μmol/mmol or more of creatinine for children aged 2 years or older.

The level of C4-C in blood was determined as its butyl ester using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry as part of the acylcarnitine analyses.31 The C4-C concentration was quantitated by signal comparison with 2H3-C3-carnitine as an internal standard. Reference ranges consisted of the 95th percentile obtained. In this way, an upper reference range of 0.58 μmol/L was defined.

Clinical Signs and Symptoms, Patient Characteristics, and Applied Treatment

Information about the patients and the applied treatment was obtained by interviewing the physician of each patient and/or by reviewing the medical charts. Age at first presentation, country of ancestry, symptoms, developmental scores, school performance, clinical course, and applied treatment were summarized. The country of ancestry was used to study potential founder effects. Developmental delay was defined as severe if the IQ was measured or estimated to be lower than 50 or if there was more than 50% delay in developmental milestones. Epilepsy was defined as severe in the case of persistent seizures that were refractory to drugs. Behavioral disorders were classified as severe when they resulted in the impossibility of attending a regular school or having social contacts. Hypoglycemia was defined as measured blood glucose concentrations of 45 mg/dL (2.5 mmol/L) or less or 46 to 63 mg/dL (2.6-3.5 mmol/L) in combination with hypoglycemic symptoms, and was classified as severe if glucose concentrations were 27 mg/dL (1.5 mmol/L) or less.

Family Studies

Parents of patients seen in one of the participating centers (Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam) were asked to participate in SCAD DNA studies and, if relevant, also to include their other children. The DNA analyses were performed for 37 relatives (20 parents and 17 sibs) of 10 patients. Biochemical analyses were performed for relatives with an ACADS genotype identical to the proband. Relatives were labeled as having SCADD when they carried the same ACADS genotype as the proband and had increased levels of C4-C and/or EMA. If a parent of a proband was determined as having SCADD, clinical information was obtained from this parent and, if available, from his/her parents.

Genotype to Phenotype Relation

Results of biochemical studies were used to explore the relation between genotype and biochemical phenotype. Results of clinical studies were used to explore the relation between genotype and clinical phenotype.

Statistical Analysis

The Mann-Whitney test was used to compare genotypes, expressed as an ordinal scale, in patients with and without specific clinical symptoms, ie, developmental delay, epilepsy, and behavioral disturbances. The Kruskal-Wallis test was used to compare the biochemical results and the percentage of patients with severe, complicated, and uncomplicated symptoms in the 3 different genotype groups. The level of significance was set at P<.05. Analyses were done using Graphpad Prism 3.0 and SPSS 12.0.1 (SSPS Inc, Chicago, Ill) software.

Patients

Thirty-one patients who were diagnosed with SCADD in the Netherlands between January 1987 and January 2006 were included in this study.

Calculated Prevalence

The majority of patients (n = 25) developed symptoms in the first 3 years of life. Twelve (40%) of the patients included in this study were diagnosed in the Netherlands in the past 3 years. This implies that at least 4 new SCADD patients are born each year in the Netherlands, resulting in a birth-prevalence of at least 1:50 000 (95% confidence interval [CI], 1:29 000-1:87 000).

Genotype

All patients and their genotypes are presented in Table 1. In total, 12 different mutations and 2 variants were identified in the Dutch patient group, including 7 mutations that have not been reported previously. Of the newly identified mutations, 5 were missense, 1 was nonsense, and 1 affected splicing. Sequence analysis of 100 control alleles did not reveal any of these mutations. The most common mutation was the c.1058C>T mutation, found in 8 patients of Dutch ancestry (Table 1 and Table 2).

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Genotype, EMA, and C4-C in 31 Dutch SCADD Patients
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Clinical Signs and Symptoms and Genotype in 31 Dutch SCADD Patients
Biochemistry

The EMA values under nonstressed conditions ranged from near normal values to greater than 400 μmol/mmol of creatinine. The C4-C values ranged from normal values to greater than 4 μmol/L (Table 1).

Clinical Signs and Symptoms, Patient Characteristics, and Applied Treatment

Patients presented with a variety of clinical signs and symptoms. Most frequently encountered signs and symptoms were developmental delay (n = 16), which was nonsevere in the majority of patients (n = 15), epilepsy (n = 11, nonsevere in all), behavioral disorders (n = 8, nonsevere in 5), and hypoglycemia (n = 6, nonsevere in 5) (Table 2 and Figure 1).

Figure 1. Clinical Signs and Symptoms in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

Only symptoms reported in more than 1 of the total number of 31 patients are included.

Overall, 5 patients (patients 17 and 19 in the mutation/variant group, and patients 23, 25, and 30 in the variant/variant group) (Table 2) had 1 or more severe symptoms. Additional diagnoses, which were considered to be a more likely cause of the signs and symptoms, were made in 2 of them (patients 17 and 23, Table 2). Overall, 7 patients (patients 1 and 2 in the mutation/mutation group; patients 14 and 16 in the mutation/variant group; patients 27, 29, and 31 in the variant/variant group) had 3 or more different symptoms recorded. An additional diagnosis that was considered to be a more likely cause of the clinical signs and symptoms was made in 2 patients (patients 1 and 16, Table 2). There were 19 patients who had uncomplicated symptoms. Further investigations in one of these patients (patient 20) revealed recurrent urinary tract infections that were caused by a subpelvic ureter stenosis, and his symptoms disappeared after surgical intervention. An additional diagnosis, which was more likely the cause of the signs and symptoms, was therefore made in a total of 5 out of 31 patients.

Follow-up after the first presentation ranged from 1 to 18 years. No patients died during follow-up. In 2 patients (both from the variant/variant group) progressive clinical deteroriation was recorded, 12 patients had no change in symptoms during follow-up, 8 patients had amelioration of symptoms, and 9 had complete recovery (Table 2).

Eighteen patients (patients 1, 2, 4, 5, 7, 8, 11-15, 17, 19-22, 26, and 27) were treated, in almost all cases temporarily, with riboflavin (vitamin B2). In 6 patients (patients 16, 19, 20, and 25-27), carnitine had been given. In all cases, parents and/or representatives were given instructions to avoid fasting. In 8 patients (patients 8 and 10, 11, 21, 23, and 25-27), a cornstarch feed (long-acting carbohydrates) was given before bedtime. No consistent clinical improvement was noted in relation to riboflavin, carnitine, cornstarch, or avoidance of fasting.

Family Studies

Of the 37 relatives (20 parents and 17 siblings) tested, 9 relatives (a parent of patients 4, 5, and 21, and a sibling of patients 2, 3, 5, and 21, and 2 siblings of patient 14) were found to have a ACADS genotype identical to the proband. Except for the father of patient 21 (variant/variant group) all relatives were found to have increased levels of C4-C and/or EMA (Table 3). Eight of the 9 relatives had no clinical symptoms. The only one with symptoms was a sibling of patient 3 (mutation/mutation group), who had transient food refusal in her first year of life.

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 3. Genotype, EMA, C4-C, and Clinical Signs and Symptoms in 6 SCADD Patients and 9 Relatives With an ACADS Genotype Identical to the Proband
Genotype to Phenotype Relation

The EMA and C4-C values were highest in the 3 patients in the mutation/mutation group, less increased in the mutation/variant group, and the lowest values were found in the patients with gene variants only. A statistically significant association between EMA as well as C4-C concentrations and the genotype (P = .002 in both) was detected (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Correlation of Genotype to Mean Ethylmalonic Acid and Butyrylcarnitine in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

For both ethylmalonic acid and butyrylcarnitine, there is a significant difference (P=.002) between the 3 genotype groups. Mut indicates mutation; var, variant.

The genotype of the SCADD patients and SCADD relatives was not related to the nature or the severity of symptoms (Table 3 and Figure 3).

Figure 3. Correlation of Genotype to the Nature and the Severity of Symptoms in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

Symptoms were defined as severe in the case of 1 or more severe symptoms, complicated in the case of 3 or more nonsevere symptoms, and uncomplicated in the case of 2 or fewer nonsevere symptoms. For nature of symptoms, there were no significant differences (P=.29 for developmental delay, P=.78 for epilepsy, P=.05 for behavioral disturbances) among the 3 genotype groups. For severity of symptoms, there was also no significant difference (P=.22) among the 3 genotype groups (Table 2). Mut indicates mutation; var, variant.

Our study presents the largest group of SCADD patients reported so far. As extended diagnostic studies are more likely to be performed and clinical information is more likely to be available in the case of severe symptoms, our study population might represent the more severely affected SCADD patients.

Based on the number of patients diagnosed in the last 3 years, a birth prevalence for the Netherlands of at least 1:50 000 was calculated. The true prevalence may well be higher, in view of the strict inclusion criteria used in our study. Furthermore, metabolic studies are generally performed in only a minority of patients with symptoms found in SCADD, such as mild developmental delay and epilepsy. Indeed, results of newborn screening studies performed in the United States indicate a higher prevalence. Birth-prevalences as high as 1:33 000 were estimated for classic SCADD, defined as SCADD with mutations on both alleles and very high C4-C levels as detected by using high cut-off levels (4-10 SD above the mean) for C4-C.32 In the group of 31 patients reported herein, only 3 (9.7%) were found to have mutations on both alleles of the ACADS gene and are thus comparable with SCADD in its classic form. If one assumes that the prevalence of classic SCADD (mutation/mutation group) and SCADD with a mutation/variant or variant/variant genotype (nonclassic SCADD) is similar in the United States and the Netherlands, this would imply that the birth-prevalence of SCADD in the Netherlands, including both forms, might be approximately 10 times as high, which would result in a birth-prevalence of SCADD of approximately 1:3300. This prevalence is even higher than the prevalence of phenylketonuria, which is assumed to be one of the most common inborn errors of metabolism with a birth-prevalence of 1:10 400 to 1: 4500 if all variant forms of phenylketonuria are included.33

Our study revealed 7 newly identified ACADS gene mutations, resulting in a total number of 22 different ACADS mutations, apart from the 2 ACADS gene variants, published so far (Table 4). The biochemical features of patients with the newly identified missense mutations, combined with the fact that these mutations have not been observed in 100 control alleles, strongly suggests that these are inactivating mutations. The c.1058C>T mutation was found in 8 of the 20 patients with mutations, all of Dutch ancestry, suggesting a founder effect. This mutation has been reported previously, also in a patient of Dutch ancestry.6

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 4. Newly Identified and Previously Reported Mutations and Variants in the ACADS Gene

Clinical signs and symptoms at presentation were highly variable, with developmental delay (nonsevere in almost all patients), epilepsy, behavioral disturbances, and hypoglycemia being the most frequently reported (Table 2 and Figure 1). Most patients presented with more than one of these symptoms. Except for behavioral disorders these symptoms also were frequently noted in patients reported previously.29

Most of the severely affected patients belonged to the variant/variant group (Table 2), which is in line with other studies.3,6,9 The overrepresentation of variant alleles in severely affected SCADD patients may be the result of a selection bias, since it is more likely that a full metabolic screening is performed in patients with severe clinical symptoms. Because approximately 6% of the general population is homozygous or compound heterozygous for the c.625G>A and/or c.511C>T SCAD gene variants, the apparent association between clinical symptoms and the presence of variant alleles might be coincidental. Therefore, the detection of homozygosity or compound heterozygosity for these gene variants in patients with severe clinical symptoms should not preclude a full diagnostic work-up for other potential causes of the symptoms. Further diagnostic studies in SCADD patients with either a mutation/mutation or mutation/variant genotype also may be indicated. The importance of further studies is illustrated by patients 1, 16, 17, and 18 in whom additional diagnoses were made that are more likely to be causing the clinical symptoms. These findings, as well as the results of the family studies reported herein, demonstrate that even missense mutations can occur without any clinical significance.

The clinical course was rather similar in most patients. In general, symptoms developed early in life, which also was reported in previous studies.24,611,13,15 Complete recovery of symptoms was reported in 9 of the 31 patients reported herein and in 8 of the 10 patients in whom outcome was reported previously,35,10,11,13,16 suggesting that in a substantial number of patients, SCADD is associated with transient clinical symptoms. In our study, no consistent improvement was reported in response to riboflavin, carnitine, cornstarch, or avoidance of fasting. However, more studies are necessary to assess the effect of treatment, in particular of riboflavin therapy.

Although a significant association was found between genotype and biochemical phenotype, our study did not reveal an association between genotype and clinical features in SCADD. This finding suggests that modifying factors may be involved in the pathogenesis of clinical SCADD, as previously suggested for the c.625G>A and c.511C>T susceptibility alleles.6 Our observation that SCADD is often associated with transient clinical symptoms might be related to a temporary nature of these factors. Neurological symptoms may be caused by EMA, which was found to be toxic to neuronal cells, and free butyrate, which may cause encephalopathy.5,35 During circumstances with increased demand on mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation, such as prolonged fasting, concentrations of these potential toxic metabolites may increase, resulting in reversible neurotoxicity.

The relatively benign clinical course observed in many of the SCADD patients implies that SCADD does not meet the first Frankenburg screening criterion stating that the disease or condition screened for should be serious or potentially serious.29 In addition, 7 of the 8 relatives identified in this study with an ACADS genotype identical to the proband and increased C4-C and/or EMA levels were free of symptoms. This observation also implies that it is not possible to differentiate SCADD patients from nondiseased SCADD individuals. Therefore, SCADD does not meet the third Frankenburg criterion for screening. This is in line with the observation that all 7 individuals detected by newborn screening in Australia with probable SCADD remained free of symptoms without any treatment during subsequent follow-up of 2 to 7 years (written communication, B. Wilcken, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead, Australia). Furthermore, 17 putative SCADD patients as well as 2 of the 3 patients with confirmed SCADD based on homozygous mutations, detected by newborn screening programs in the United States, did not develop any clinical symptoms during the first years of life.2,36 Although the results of our study suggest that SCADD is relatively common, thus meeting the second Frankenburg criterion, we believe that SCADD should not be included in neonatal screening programs at this time. Indeed, screening for SCADD may have negative consequences placing families at risk for increased stress and parent-child dysfunction.37

However, infants already identified by SCADD newborn screening should be included in long-term follow-up studies to obtain more information to decide about the relevance of screening for SCADD.

Unfortunately, both the Wilson and Jungner and the Frankenburg criteria have limitations in the context of newborn screening using tandem mass spectrometry.38 However, no criteria have been published since and they are still applied in the discussion on newborn screening.28,39 The results of a new approach for recommending conditions for newborn screening by using an expert panel recently were published by the American College of Medical Genetics.26 In this report, SCADD was not included in the core panel of diseases for which screening is considered mandatory. SCADD was included in the group of secondary targets because it is in the differential diagnosis of a condition in the core panel and it is of clinical significance. However, the results of our study and newborn screening studies demonstrate that SCADD lacks clear clinical significance in many patients, implying that SCADD should not be included in the group of secondary targets and it does not qualify for newborn screening at this time.

This study has several limitations in addition to the underestimate of prevalence given the use of a clinically identified rather than screened population. As data were collected retrospectively, no sequential neuropsychological and motor development tests were performed. In addition, clinical information was scored by different physicians. To further elucidate the clinical spectrum of SCADD, more prospective and long-term studies, including formal neuropsychological and motor development testing, are necessary.

In summary, the results of newborn screening studies as well as our data suggest that SCADD is far more common than assumed previously. In the Dutch patient cohort, clinical symptoms are nonspecific, generally uncomplicated, often transient, and not related to the ACADS genotype. These observations, in combination with the observation that almost all relatives diagnosed with SCADD, as well as almost all individuals found by neonatal screening, remain asymptomatic, suggest that an association between symptoms and SCADD is often spurious. In some individuals carrying ACADS gene variants and/or mutations, environmental or other genetic factors may result in true SCADD-related clinical pathology. In many other individuals, however, SCADD may only be a lifelong biochemical phenomenon. Because SCADD does not meet major newborn screening criteria, it is not suited for inclusion in newborn screening programs at this time.

Corresponding Author: Bianca T. van Maldegem, MD, Department of Pediatrics, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 9, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, the Netherlands (b.t.vanmaldegem@amc.uva.nl).

Author Contributions: Dr van Maldegem had full access to all of the data in the study and takes responsibility for the integrity of the data and the accuracy of the data analysis.

Study concept and design: van Maldegem, Wanders, Wijburg.

Acquisition of data: van Maldegem, Niezen-Koning, Hogeveen.

Analysis and interpretation of data: Duran, Ijlst, Waterham.

Drafting of the manuscript: van Maldegem, Wanders, Wijburg.

Critical revision of the manuscript for important intellectual content: Duran, Niezen-Koning, Hogeveen, Ijlst, Waterham.

Statistical analysis: van Maldegem.

Obtained funding: van Maldegem, Wijburg.

Administrative, technical, or material support: van Maldegem, Duran, Niezen-Koning, Hogeveen, Ijlst, Waterham.

Study supervision: Wanders, Wijburg.

Financial Disclosures: None reported.

Funding/Support: This work was supported by a research grant to Drs van Maldegem and Wijburg from the “Metabole Fonds” of the Academic Medical Center, Amsterdam.

Role of the Sponsor: The research sponsor had no role in the design and conduct of the study; collection, management, analysis and interpretation of the data; or preparation, review, or approval of the manuscript.

Acknowledgment: We thank H. D. Bakker, MD, PhD, P. G. Barth, MD, PhD, R. F. M. de Coo, MD, PhD, P. M. van Hasselt, MD, PhD, J. B. C. de Klerk, MD, PhD, T. J. de Koning, MD, PhD, E. Langius, MD, PhD, S. M. Maas, MD, PhD, J. P. Rake, MD, PhD, M. E. Rubio-Gozalbo, MD, PhD, G. P. A. Smit, MD, PhD, M. E. J. Wegdam-den Boer, MD, PhD, and J. M. B. Wennink, MD, PhD, for providing data on their patients, N. G. G. M. Abeling for assistance on biochemical analyses, and J. H. van der Lee, MD, PhD, of the Centre for Pediatric Clinical Epidemiology for assistance on statistical analyses.

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Gregersen N, Winter VS, Corydon MJ.  et al.  Identification of four new mutations in the short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) gene in two patients: one of the variant alleles, 511C→T, is present at an unexpectedly high frequency in the general population, as was the case for 625G→A, together conferring susceptibility to ethylmalonic aciduria.  Hum Mol Genet. 1998;7:619-627
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Dawson DB, Waber L, Hale DE, Bennett MJ. Transient organic aciduria and persistent lacticacidemia in a patient with short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Pediatr. 1995;126:69-71
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Sewell AC, Herwig J, Bohles H, Rinaldo P, Bhala A, Hale DE. A new case of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency with isolated ethylmalonic aciduria.  Eur J Pediatr. 1993;152:922-924
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Bok LA, Vreken P, Wijburg FA.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency: studies in a large family adding to the complexity of the disorder.  Pediatrics. 2003;112:1152-1155
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Matern D, Hart P, Murtha AP.  et al.  Acute fatty liver of pregnancy associated with short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Pediatr. 2001;138:585-588
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Niezen-Koning KE, Wanders RJ, Nagel GT, Sewell AC, Heymans HS. Measurement of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) in cultured skin fibroblasts with hexanoyl-CoA as a competitive inhibitor to eliminate the contribution of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.  Clin Chim Acta. 1994;229:99-106
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Seidel J, Streck S, Bellstedt K.  et al.  Recurrent vomiting and ethylmalonic aciduria associated with rare mutations of the short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2003;26:37-42
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Corydon MJ, Andresen BS, Bross P.  et al.  Structural organization of the human short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene.  Mamm Genome. 1997;8:922-926
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Naito E, Indo Y, Tanaka K. Identification of two variant short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase alleles, each containing a different point mutation in a patient with short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Clin Invest. 1990;85:1575-1582
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Kmoch S, Zeman J, Hrebicek M, Ryba L, Kristensen MJ, Gregersen N. Riboflavin-responsive epilepsy in a patient with SER209 variant form of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 1995;18:227-229
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Nagan N, Kruckeberg KE, Tauscher AL, Bailey KS, Rinaldo P, Matern D. The frequency of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene variants in the US population and correlation with the C(4)-acylcarnitine concentration in newborn blood spots.  Mol Genet Metab. 2003;78:239-246
PubMed   |  Link to Article
van Maldegem BT, Waterham HR, Duran M.  et al.  The 625G>A SCAD gene variant is common but not associated with increased C4-carnitine in newborn blood spots.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28:557-562
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Corydon MJ, Gregersen N, Lehnert W.  et al.  Ethylmalonic aciduria is associated with an amino acid variant of short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase.  Pediatr Res. 1996;39:1059-1066
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Andresen BS, Bross P. Prevalent mutations in fatty acid oxidation disorders: diagnostic considerations.  Eur J Pediatr. 2000;159:(suppl 3)  S213-S218
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Andresen BS, Corydon MJ.  et al.  Mutation analysis in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects: exemplified by acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiencies, with special focus on genotype-phenotype relationship.  Hum Mutat. 2001;18:169-189
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Bross P, Andrese BS, Pedersen CB, Corydon TJ, Bolund L. The role of chaperone-assisted folding and quality control in inborn errors of metabolism: protein folding disorders.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2001;24:189-212
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Therell BL.US National Newborn Screening Status Report. National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center. 2006. http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu. Accessed February 27, 2006
Wilcken B, Wiley V, Hammond J, Carpenter K. Screening newborns for inborn errors of metabolism by tandem mass spectrometry.  N Engl J Med. 2003;348:2304-2312
PubMed   |  Link to Article
National Public Health Partnership. An overview of Public Health Surveillance of Genetic Disorders and Mapping of Current Genetic Screening Services in Autralia. October 2002. http://www.hgsa.com.au/PDF/geneticmapping.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2006
American College of Medical Genetics Newborn Screening Expert Group.  Newborn screening: toward a uniform screening panel and system–executive summary.  Pediatrics. 2006;117 (5 pt 2):S296-S307
PubMed
 Howell R; Newborn Screening Expert Group. Newborn screening: toward a uniform screening panel and system. Rockville, Md: Maternal and Child Health Bureau; 2005. http://mchb.hrsa.gov/screening/. Accessed March 1, 2006 
Therrell BL Jr. U.S. newborn screening policy dilemmas for the twenty-first century.  Mol Genet Metab. 2001;74:64-74
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Frankenburg WK. Selection of diseases and tests in pediatric screening.  Pediatrics. 1974;54:612-616
PubMed
Wilson JMG, Jungner F. Principles and Practice of Screening for Disease. (Public Health papers No. 34). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 1968
Vreken P, van Lint AE, Bootsma AH, Overmars H, Wanders RJ, van Gennip AH. Quantitative plasma acylcarnitine analysis using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for the diagnosis of organic acidaemias and fatty acid oxidation defects.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 1999;22:302-306
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Zytkovicz TH, Fitzgerald EF, Marsden D.  et al.  Tandem mass spectrometric analysis for amino, organic, and fatty acid disorders in newborn dried blood spots: a two-year summary from the New England Newborn Screening Program.  Clin Chem. 2001;47:1945-1955
PubMed
Schulze A, Lindner M, Kohlmuller D, Olgemoller K, Mayatepek E, Hoffmann GF. Expanded newborn screening for inborn errors of metabolism by electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry: results, outcome, and implications.  Pediatrics. 2003;111(6 pt 1):1399-1406
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Kristensen MJ, Kmoch S, Bross P, Andresen BS, Gregersen N. Amino acid polymorphism (Gly209Ser) in the ACADS gene.  Hum Mol Genet. 1994;3:1711
Link to Article
Leipnitz G, Schuck PF, Ribeiro CA.  et al.  Ethylmalonic acid inhibits mitochondrial creatine kinase activity from cerebral cortex of young rats in vitro.  Neurochem Res. 2003;28:771-777
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Rhead WJ, Allain D, Van Calcar S.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (SCAD) and 3-Methylcrotonyl-coA carboxylase (MCC) deficiencies: tandem mass spectrometry newborn screening detects many clinically benign cases.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2002;25:(suppl 1)  4
Waisbren SE, Albers S, Amato S.  et al.  Effect of expanded newborn screening for biochemical genetic disorders on child outcomes and parental stress.  JAMA. 2003;290:2564-2572
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Pollitt RJ. International perspectives on newborn screening.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2006;29:390-396
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Holtzman NA. Expanding newborn screening: how good is the evidence?  JAMA. 2003;290:2606-2608
PubMed   |  Link to Article

Figures

Figure 1. Clinical Signs and Symptoms in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

Only symptoms reported in more than 1 of the total number of 31 patients are included.

Figure 2. Correlation of Genotype to Mean Ethylmalonic Acid and Butyrylcarnitine in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

For both ethylmalonic acid and butyrylcarnitine, there is a significant difference (P=.002) between the 3 genotype groups. Mut indicates mutation; var, variant.

Figure 3. Correlation of Genotype to the Nature and the Severity of Symptoms in 31 Dutch Patients With Short-Chain Acyl-Coenzyme A Dehydrogenase Deficiency
Graphic Jump Location

Symptoms were defined as severe in the case of 1 or more severe symptoms, complicated in the case of 3 or more nonsevere symptoms, and uncomplicated in the case of 2 or fewer nonsevere symptoms. For nature of symptoms, there were no significant differences (P=.29 for developmental delay, P=.78 for epilepsy, P=.05 for behavioral disturbances) among the 3 genotype groups. For severity of symptoms, there was also no significant difference (P=.22) among the 3 genotype groups (Table 2). Mut indicates mutation; var, variant.

Tables

Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 1. Genotype, EMA, and C4-C in 31 Dutch SCADD Patients
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 2. Clinical Signs and Symptoms and Genotype in 31 Dutch SCADD Patients
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 3. Genotype, EMA, C4-C, and Clinical Signs and Symptoms in 6 SCADD Patients and 9 Relatives With an ACADS Genotype Identical to the Proband
Table Graphic Jump LocationTable 4. Newly Identified and Previously Reported Mutations and Variants in the ACADS Gene

References

Amendt BA, Greene C, Sweetman L.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency: clinical and biochemical studies in two patients.  J Clin Invest. 1987;79:1303-1309
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Koeberl DD, Young SP, Gregersen NS.  et al.  Rare disorders of metabolism with elevated butyryl- and isobutyryl-carnitine detected by tandem mass spectrometry newborn screening.  Pediatr Res. 2003;54:219-223
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Kurian MA, Hartley L, Zolkipli Z.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency associated with early onset severe axonal neuropathy.  Neuropediatrics. 2004;35:312-316
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Bhala A, Willi SM, Rinaldo P, Bennett MJ, Schmidt-Sommerfeld E, Hale DE. Clinical and biochemical characterization of short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Pediatr. 1995;126:910-915
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Birkebaek NH, Simonsen H, Gregersen N. Hypoglycaemia and elevated urine ethylmalonic acid in a child homozygous for the short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase 625G > A gene variation.  Acta Paediatr. 2002;91:480-482
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Corydon MJ, Vockley J, Rinaldo P.  et al.  Role of common gene variations in the molecular pathogenesis of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency.  Pediatr Res. 2001;49:18-23
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Winter VS, Corydon MJ.  et al.  Identification of four new mutations in the short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) gene in two patients: one of the variant alleles, 511C→T, is present at an unexpectedly high frequency in the general population, as was the case for 625G→A, together conferring susceptibility to ethylmalonic aciduria.  Hum Mol Genet. 1998;7:619-627
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Dawson DB, Waber L, Hale DE, Bennett MJ. Transient organic aciduria and persistent lacticacidemia in a patient with short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Pediatr. 1995;126:69-71
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Sewell AC, Herwig J, Bohles H, Rinaldo P, Bhala A, Hale DE. A new case of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency with isolated ethylmalonic aciduria.  Eur J Pediatr. 1993;152:922-924
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Bok LA, Vreken P, Wijburg FA.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency: studies in a large family adding to the complexity of the disorder.  Pediatrics. 2003;112:1152-1155
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Matern D, Hart P, Murtha AP.  et al.  Acute fatty liver of pregnancy associated with short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Pediatr. 2001;138:585-588
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Niezen-Koning KE, Wanders RJ, Nagel GT, Sewell AC, Heymans HS. Measurement of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) in cultured skin fibroblasts with hexanoyl-CoA as a competitive inhibitor to eliminate the contribution of medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.  Clin Chim Acta. 1994;229:99-106
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Seidel J, Streck S, Bellstedt K.  et al.  Recurrent vomiting and ethylmalonic aciduria associated with rare mutations of the short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2003;26:37-42
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Corydon MJ, Andresen BS, Bross P.  et al.  Structural organization of the human short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene.  Mamm Genome. 1997;8:922-926
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Naito E, Indo Y, Tanaka K. Identification of two variant short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase alleles, each containing a different point mutation in a patient with short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase deficiency.  J Clin Invest. 1990;85:1575-1582
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Kmoch S, Zeman J, Hrebicek M, Ryba L, Kristensen MJ, Gregersen N. Riboflavin-responsive epilepsy in a patient with SER209 variant form of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 1995;18:227-229
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Nagan N, Kruckeberg KE, Tauscher AL, Bailey KS, Rinaldo P, Matern D. The frequency of short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase gene variants in the US population and correlation with the C(4)-acylcarnitine concentration in newborn blood spots.  Mol Genet Metab. 2003;78:239-246
PubMed   |  Link to Article
van Maldegem BT, Waterham HR, Duran M.  et al.  The 625G>A SCAD gene variant is common but not associated with increased C4-carnitine in newborn blood spots.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2005;28:557-562
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Corydon MJ, Gregersen N, Lehnert W.  et al.  Ethylmalonic aciduria is associated with an amino acid variant of short chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase.  Pediatr Res. 1996;39:1059-1066
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Andresen BS, Bross P. Prevalent mutations in fatty acid oxidation disorders: diagnostic considerations.  Eur J Pediatr. 2000;159:(suppl 3)  S213-S218
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Andresen BS, Corydon MJ.  et al.  Mutation analysis in mitochondrial fatty acid oxidation defects: exemplified by acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiencies, with special focus on genotype-phenotype relationship.  Hum Mutat. 2001;18:169-189
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Gregersen N, Bross P, Andrese BS, Pedersen CB, Corydon TJ, Bolund L. The role of chaperone-assisted folding and quality control in inborn errors of metabolism: protein folding disorders.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2001;24:189-212
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Therell BL.US National Newborn Screening Status Report. National Newborn Screening and Genetics Resource Center. 2006. http://genes-r-us.uthscsa.edu. Accessed February 27, 2006
Wilcken B, Wiley V, Hammond J, Carpenter K. Screening newborns for inborn errors of metabolism by tandem mass spectrometry.  N Engl J Med. 2003;348:2304-2312
PubMed   |  Link to Article
National Public Health Partnership. An overview of Public Health Surveillance of Genetic Disorders and Mapping of Current Genetic Screening Services in Autralia. October 2002. http://www.hgsa.com.au/PDF/geneticmapping.pdf. Accessed April 3, 2006
American College of Medical Genetics Newborn Screening Expert Group.  Newborn screening: toward a uniform screening panel and system–executive summary.  Pediatrics. 2006;117 (5 pt 2):S296-S307
PubMed
 Howell R; Newborn Screening Expert Group. Newborn screening: toward a uniform screening panel and system. Rockville, Md: Maternal and Child Health Bureau; 2005. http://mchb.hrsa.gov/screening/. Accessed March 1, 2006 
Therrell BL Jr. U.S. newborn screening policy dilemmas for the twenty-first century.  Mol Genet Metab. 2001;74:64-74
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Frankenburg WK. Selection of diseases and tests in pediatric screening.  Pediatrics. 1974;54:612-616
PubMed
Wilson JMG, Jungner F. Principles and Practice of Screening for Disease. (Public Health papers No. 34). Geneva, Switzerland: World Health Organization; 1968
Vreken P, van Lint AE, Bootsma AH, Overmars H, Wanders RJ, van Gennip AH. Quantitative plasma acylcarnitine analysis using electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for the diagnosis of organic acidaemias and fatty acid oxidation defects.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 1999;22:302-306
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Zytkovicz TH, Fitzgerald EF, Marsden D.  et al.  Tandem mass spectrometric analysis for amino, organic, and fatty acid disorders in newborn dried blood spots: a two-year summary from the New England Newborn Screening Program.  Clin Chem. 2001;47:1945-1955
PubMed
Schulze A, Lindner M, Kohlmuller D, Olgemoller K, Mayatepek E, Hoffmann GF. Expanded newborn screening for inborn errors of metabolism by electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry: results, outcome, and implications.  Pediatrics. 2003;111(6 pt 1):1399-1406
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Kristensen MJ, Kmoch S, Bross P, Andresen BS, Gregersen N. Amino acid polymorphism (Gly209Ser) in the ACADS gene.  Hum Mol Genet. 1994;3:1711
Link to Article
Leipnitz G, Schuck PF, Ribeiro CA.  et al.  Ethylmalonic acid inhibits mitochondrial creatine kinase activity from cerebral cortex of young rats in vitro.  Neurochem Res. 2003;28:771-777
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Rhead WJ, Allain D, Van Calcar S.  et al.  Short-chain acyl-coenzyme A dehydrogenase (SCAD) and 3-Methylcrotonyl-coA carboxylase (MCC) deficiencies: tandem mass spectrometry newborn screening detects many clinically benign cases.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2002;25:(suppl 1)  4
Waisbren SE, Albers S, Amato S.  et al.  Effect of expanded newborn screening for biochemical genetic disorders on child outcomes and parental stress.  JAMA. 2003;290:2564-2572
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Pollitt RJ. International perspectives on newborn screening.  J Inherit Metab Dis. 2006;29:390-396
PubMed   |  Link to Article
Holtzman NA. Expanding newborn screening: how good is the evidence?  JAMA. 2003;290:2606-2608
PubMed   |  Link to Article
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