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Tandem Mass Spectrometry Newborn Screening for Inborn Errors of Intermediary Metabolism: Abnormal Profile Interpretation

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Expanded newborn screening for inherited metabolic disorders using tandem mass spectrometry was introduced in 1990's and is widely used around the world. In contrast to conventional screening methods, tandem mass spectrometry does not measure single analytes but identifies and quantifies metabolite profiles; one single blood spot analyzed provides information of about 60 metabolites including amino acids, acylcarnitines and related ratios that enable the diagnosis of approximately 50 different diseases. However, the interpretation of these profiles can become quite complex. The aim of this work is to present in an easy and practical manner a comprehensive compilation of information needed for tandem mass neonatal screening profile interpretation, and basic actions for immediate follow up of abnormal results, including the tests that are required for confirmatory purposes. Other conditions not attributable to metabolic disorders which can lead to an abnormal profile of these markers are also described as well as a series of general recommendations which would be useful for health professionals who are beginning newborn screening for inborn errors of intermediary metabolism using tandem mass spectrometry.
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Keywords: Acylcarnitines; abnormal results; amino acids; expanded newborn screening; false negative results; false positive results; inherited metabolic disorders; interpretation of expanded newborn screening; markers; maternal inherited metabolic disorders; tandem mass

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2012-09-01

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