Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD)—Clinical profile of 47 Filipino patients

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Abstract

Maple syrup urine disease (MSUD) is a very rare disorder of branched-chain amino acid metabolism. However, it is the most common inborn error of metabolism in the Philippines. We present a retrospective review of 21 patients diagnosed with MSUD between 1999 and 2004. The patients presented clinically between 2 and 14 days of life (mean 5 days) and the diagnosis of MSUD was established between 6 days and 11 months of age (mean 39 days). The classical burnt sugar odour was noted in the majority of patients (81%). The diagnosis of MSUD was initially based on clinical suspicion and confirmed biochemically by measurement of leucine/isoleucine levels by thin-layer chromatography. The acute management included removal of accumulated branched-chain amino acids by peritoneal dialysis in 62% of the patients. Mortality rate of this group of patients was 24% and follow-up rate was 87%. We compared this series with a previously reported series of 26 patients to determine whether diagnosis and the management of MSUD improved over the two periods. Four cases have been diagnosed early since 1992, the majority of whom had the classic form of MSUD with the onset of symptoms in the first two weeks of life. A small subset of patients with early nonspecific symptoms was diagnosed much later owing to a low-level clinical suspicion among clinicians. Overall, however, there appears to be a small but general trend towards earlier diagnosis, reduced mortality and long-term follow up in the later series. Although we are able to diagnose and manage MSUD in the Philippines, we recognize that the clinical outcome remains poor and is due mainly to late referral of cases and inadequate long-term management. In the Philippines, we recommend that all newborns who are considered to be septic, have feeding difficulties, fail to regain their birth weight or present with any other symptoms suggestive of MSUD be evaluated in the first instance by analysis of urine for ketones and if they are positive have blood collected and sent to our laboratory for leucine/isoleucine measurement.

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