The nutritional management of urea cycle disorders.

Institute of Child Health and Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, London, United Kingdom.
Journal of Pediatrics (Impact Factor: 4.04). 02/2001; 138(1 Suppl):S40-4;discussion S44-5. DOI: 10.1067/mpd.2001.111835
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Diet is one of the mainstays of the treatment of patients with urea cycle disorders. The protein intake should be adjusted to take account of the inborn error and its severity and the patient's age, growth rate, and individual preferences. Currently, the widely used standards for protein intake are probably more generous than necessary, particularly for those with the more severe variants. Most patients, except those with arginase deficiency, will need supplements of arginine, but the value of other supplements including citrate and carnitine is unclear. Any patient on a low-protein diet should be monitored clinically and with appropriate laboratory tests. All should have an emergency (crisis) regimen to prevent decompensation during periods of metabolic stress.

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    ABSTRACT: Urea cycle disorders (UCDs) result from inherited defects in the ammonia detoxification pathway, leading to episodes of hyperammonaemia and encephalopathy. The purpose of this study was to answer the question, "what is the likely plasma amino acid profile of a patient known to have a UCD presenting with hyperammonaemia during acute metabolic decompensation", in order to support informed decisions regarding management.We analysed the results of plasma ammonia levels and amino acid profiles taken simultaneously or within 30 min of each other during acute admissions of all patients with a UCD at the Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, over 28 years. Samples from 96 admissions (79, 9 and 8 admissions for OTC, CPS and ASS deficiencies, respectively) from 14 patients fulfilled these criteria. Amino acid levels were measured by ion exchange chromatography with post-column ninhydrin derivatisation and interpreted in relation to age-related reference ranges.Plasma concentrations of all measured essential amino acids were low or low-normal in almost all samples. There was a strong positive correlation between low plasma branched-chain amino acids and other essential amino acids, and a negative correlation between ammonia and phenylalanine to tyrosine (Phe:Tyr) ratio in patients with OTC deficiency, and between glutamine and Phe:Tyr ratio in all patients, indicating protein deficiency. Conclusion: At admission, protein deficiency is common in patients with a UCD with hyperammonaemia. These results challenge the current guideline of stopping protein intake during acute decompensation in UCDs. Supplementation with essential amino acids (particularly branched-chain amino acids) at these times should be considered.
    JIMD reports. 01/2013; 9:97-104.
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    ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To compare the clinical course and outcome of patients diagnosed with one of 4 neonatal-onset urea cycle disorders (UCDs): deficiency of carbamyl phosphate synthase 1 (CPSD), ornithine transcarbamylase (OTCD), argininosuccinate synthase (ASD), or argininosuccinate lyase (ALD). STUDY DESIGN: Clinical, biochemical, and neuropsychological data from 103 subjects with neonatal-onset UCDs were derived from the Longitudinal Study of Urea Cycle Disorders, an observational protocol of the Urea Cycle Disorders Consortium, one of the Rare Disease Clinical Research Networks. RESULTS: Some 88% of the subjects presented clinically by age 7 days. Peak ammonia level was 963 μM in patients with proximal UCDs (CPSD or OTCD), compared with 589 μM in ASD and 573 μM in ALD. Roughly 25% of subjects with CPSD or OTCD, 18% of those with ASD, and 67% of those with ALD had a "honeymoon period," defined as the time interval from discharge from initial admission to subsequent admission for hyperammonemia, greater than 1 year. The proportion of patients with a poor outcome (IQ/Developmental Quotient <70) was greatest in ALD (68%), followed by ASD (54%) and CPSD/OTCD (47%). This trend was not significant, but was observed in both patients aged <4 years and those aged ≥4 years. Poor cognitive outcome was not correlated with peak ammonia level or duration of initial admission. CONCLUSION: Neurocognitive outcomes do not differ between patients with proximal UCDs and those with distal UCDs. Factors other than hyperammonemia may contribute to poor neurocognitive outcome in the distal UCDs.
    The Journal of pediatrics 08/2012; · 4.02 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Urea cycle disorders (UCDs) are inborn errors of ammonia detoxification/arginine synthesis due to defects affecting the catalysts of the Krebs-Henseleit cycle (five core enzymes, one activating enzyme and one mitochondrial ornithine/citrulline antiporter) with an estimated incidence of 1:8.000. Patients present with hyperammonemia either shortly after birth (~50%) or, later at any age, leading to death or to severe neurological handicap in many survivors. Despite the existence of effective therapy with alternative pathway therapy and liver transplantation, outcomes remain poor. This may be related to underrecognition and delayed diagnosis due to the nonspecific clinical presentation and insufficient awareness of health care professionals because of disease rarity. These guidelines aim at providing a trans-European consensus to: guide practitioners, set standards of care and help awareness campaigns. To achieve these goals, the guidelines were developed using a Delphi methodology, by having professionals on UCDs across seven European countries to gather all the existing evidence, score it according to the SIGN evidence level system and draw a series of statements supported by an associated level of evidence. The guidelines were revised by external specialist consultants, unrelated authorities in the field of UCDs and practicing pediatricians in training. Although the evidence degree did not exceed level C (evidence from non-analytical studies like case reports and series), it was sufficient to guide practice on both acute and chronic presentations, address diagnosis, management, monitoring, outcomes, and psychosocial and ethical issues. Also, it identified knowledge voids that must be filled by future research. We believe these guidelines will help to: harmonise practice, set common standards and spread good practices with a positive impact on the outcomes of UCD patients.
    Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases 05/2012; 7(1):32. · 4.32 Impact Factor


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