Prospective treatment of urea cycle disorders.
We present a diagnostic and therapeutic protocol designed to prevent clinical expression of inborn errors of urea synthesis in the neonatal period, and discuss the long-term developmental outcome of survivors. The families of 32 infants, among 43 identified prenatally as being at risk for a urea cycle disorder, chose to have their infants treated according to a diagnostic and therapeutic protocol, beginning at birth. The therapy was effective in avoiding neonatal hyperammonemic coma and death in seven patients with carbamoyl phosphate synthetase deficiency, argininosuccinate synthetase deficiency, and argininosuccinate lyase deficiency. When treated prospectively, five of eight patients with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency avoided severe hyperammonemia and survived the neonatal period. Two patients with carbamoyl phosphate synthetase deficiency and two with ornithine transcarbamylase deficiency have subsequently died; three additional patients with the latter disorder have received orthotopic liver transplants. Our experience suggests that these surviving patients have had a more favorable neurologic outcome than patients rescued from neonatal hyperammonemic coma. However, all of them require a burdensome medical regimen and may have handicaps that include impairment of development and recurrent episodes of hyperammonemia. Further, those with deficiency of carbamoyl phosphate synthetase or ornithine transcarbamylase have a high mortality rate.
Maestri, NE; Hauser, ER; Bartholomew, D; Brusilow, SW
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