Glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase (GCDH) deficiency is an autosomal recessive disease with an estimated overall prevalence of 1 in 100 000 newborns. Biochemically, the disease is characterized by accumulation of glutaric acid, 3-hydroxyglutaric acid, glutaconic acid, and glutarylcarnitine, which can be detected by gas chromatography-mass spectrometry of organic acids or tandem mass spectrometry of acylcarnitines. Clinically, the disease course is usually determined by acute encephalopathic crises precipitated by infectious diseases, immunizations, and surgery during infancy or childhood. The characteristic neurological sequel is acute striatal injury and, subsequently, dystonia. During the last three decades attempts have been made to establish and optimize therapy for GCDH deficiency. Maintenance treatment consisting of a diet combined with oral supplementation of L-carnitine, and an intensified emergency treatment during acute episodes of intercurrent illness have been applied to the majority of patients. This treatment strategy has significantly reduced the frequency of acute encephalopathic crises in early-diagnosed patients. Therefore, GCDH deficiency is now considered to be a treatable condition. However, significant differences exist in the diagnostic procedure and management of affected patients so that there is a wide variation of the outcome, in particular of pre-symptomatically diagnosed patients. At this time of rapid expansion of neonatal screening for GCDH deficiency, the major aim of this guideline is to re-assess the common practice and to formulate recommendations for diagnosis and management of GCDH deficiency based on the best available evidence.
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