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J Paediatr Child Health. 2002 Oct;38(5):511-7.

Clinical approach to inborn errors of metabolism presenting in the newborn period.

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Western Sydney Genetics Program, Royal Alexandra Hospital for Children and Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.


Inborn errors of metabolism are individually rare, but collectively are responsible for significant levels of paediatric morbidity and mortality. More than 400 biochemically diverse inborn errors of metabolism have been identified. Recent advances in the diagnosis and treatment of these disorders have substantially improved the prognosis for many of them. Paediatricians and neonatologists play a vital role in identifying which patients need to be investigated. The diagnosis of an inborn error of metabolism often needs to be established quickly in order to prevent death or permanent neurological sequelae, and this should be carried out in collaboration with a specialized unit. The present review provides a practical approach to the recognition and investigation of neonates in whom an inborn error may be present. We also provide guidelines for the stabilization and initial management of infants at high risk of a metabolic disorder.

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