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Test ID: PMSBB Postmortem Screening, Bile and Blood Spots

Reporting Name

Postmortem Screening

Useful For

Postmortem evaluation of individuals at any age who died suddenly or unexpectedly; testing is particularly recommended under the following circumstances (risk factors):

-Family history of sudden infant death syndrome or other sudden unexpected deaths at any age

-Family history of Reye syndrome

-Maternal complications of pregnancy (acute fatty liver pregnancy, HELLP syndrome [hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count])

-Lethargy, vomiting, fasting in the 48 hours prior to death

-Allegation of child abuse (excluding obvious cases of trauma, physical harm)

-Macroscopic findings at autopsy:

   - Fatty infiltration of the liver

   - Dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

   - Autopsy evidence of infection that routinely would not represent a life-threatening event

Testing Algorithm

See Postmortem Screening Algorithm in Special Instructions.

Specimen Type

Whole blood


Necessary Information


Request the original newborn screening card from the state laboratory where the decedent was born. See Request for Original Newborn Screening Card in Special Instructions.



Specimen Required


Both bile and blood spots are required.

 

Supplies: Card-Postmortem Screening (Filter Paper) (T525)

Collection Container/Tube: Postmortem Screening Card (T525)

Specimen Volume: Properly completed screening card

Collection Instructions:

1. Collect blood in a heparin-containing tube and drop 25 mcL of blood onto each circle on 1 end of the special card.

2. Collect bile by direct puncture of the gallbladder and drop 25 mcL of bile onto each circle on the opposite end of the card.

3. Allow to dry at ambient temperature in a horizontal position for 3 or more hours.

4. Fill out information on page 2 of collection card.

5. Do not expose specimen to heat or direct sunlight.

6. Do not stack wet specimens.

7. Keep specimen dry.


Specimen Minimum Volume

Bile Spot: 1 and Blood Spot: 1

Specimen Stability Information

Specimen Type Temperature Time
Whole blood Ambient (preferred)
  Frozen 
  Refrigerated 

Reference Values

Quantitative results are compared to a constantly updated range which corresponds to the 5 to 95 percentile interval of all postmortem cases analyzed in our laboratory.

Day(s) and Time(s) Performed

Wednesday; 8 a.m.

Test Classification

This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

CPT Code Information

83789

LOINC Code Information

Test ID Test Order Name Order LOINC Value
PMSBB Postmortem Screening In Process

 

Result ID Test Result Name Result LOINC Value
22675 Specimen In Process
22676 Specimen ID 57723-9
22677 Source 31208-2
22678 Order Date 82785-7
22679 Reason For Referral 42349-1
22680 Method 49549-9
22684 Results In Process
81931 Interpretation 59462-2
22681 Amendment In Process
22682 Reviewed By No LOINC Needed
22683 Release Date 82772-5

Clinical Information

Postmortem screening involves acylcarnitine analysis in blood and bile specimens to evaluate cases of sudden or unexpected death. Acylcarnitine analysis enables the diagnosis of many disorders of fatty acid oxidation and several organic acidurias, as relevant enzyme deficiencies cause the accumulation of specific acyl-CoAs. Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) plays a major role in energy production during periods of fasting. When the body's supply of glucose is depleted, fatty acids are mobilized from adipose tissue, taken up by the liver and muscles, and oxidized to acetyl-CoA. In the liver, acetyl-CoA is the building block for the synthesis of ketone bodies, which enter the blood stream and provide an alternative substrate for production of energy in other tissues when the supply of glucose is insufficient to maintain a normal level of energy. The acyl groups are conjugated with carnitine to form acylcarnitines, which are measured by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Diagnostic results are usually characterized by a pattern of significantly elevated acylcarnitine species compared to normal and disease controls.

 

In general, more than 20 inborn errors of metabolism can be identified using this method including FAO disorders and organic acidurias. The major clinical manifestations associated with individual FAO disorders include hypoketotic hypoglycemia, variable degrees of liver disease and/or failure, skeletal myopathy, dilated/hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and sudden or unexpected death. Organic acidurias also present as acute life-threatening events early in life with metabolic acidosis, increased anion gap, and neurologic distress. Patients with any of these disorders are at risk of developing fatal metabolic decompensations following the acquisition of even common infections. Once diagnosed, these disorders can be treated by avoidance of fasting, special diets, and cofactor and vitamin supplementation.

 

Analysis of acylcarnitines in blood and bile spots represents the first level of evaluation of a complete postmortem investigation of a sudden or unexpected death of an individual. Additional confirmatory testing is recommended. The diagnosis of an underlying FAO disorder or organic aciduria allows genetic counseling of the family, including the possible option of future prenatal diagnosis, and testing of at-risk family members of any age.

 

Disorders Detectable by Acylcarnitine Analysis*

Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders:

-Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficiency

-Medium/Short-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (M/SCHAD) deficiency

-Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency

-Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency and trifunctional protein deficiency

-Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency

-Carnitine palmitoyl transferase type II (CPT-II) deficiency

-Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase (CACT) deficiency

-Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins (ETF) deficiency, ETF-dehydrogenase deficiency (multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency: MADD; glutaric acidemia type II)

 

Organic Acid Disorders:

-Glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (glutaric acidemia type I)

-Propionic Acidemia

-Methylmalonic Acidemia

-Isovaleric Acidemia

-3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA carboxylase deficiency

-3-Methylcrotonyl carboxylase deficiency

-Biotinidase deficiency

-Multiple carboxylase deficiency

-Isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency

-2-Methylbutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency

-Beta-ketothiolase deficiency

-Malonic aciduria

-Ethylmalonic encephalopathy 

*Further confirmatory testing is required for most of these conditions because an acylcarnitine profile can be suggestive of more than 1 condition.

 

See Postmortem Screening Algorithm in Special Instructions.

Interpretation

Reports of abnormal acylcarnitine profiles will include an overview of the results and of their significance, a correlation to available clinical information, possible differential diagnoses, recommendations for additional biochemical testing and confirmatory studies (enzyme assay, molecular analysis) as indicated, name and phone number of contacts who may provide these studies at Mayo Clinic or elsewhere, and a phone number to reach one of the laboratory directors in case the referring physician has additional questions.

 

Abnormal results are not always sufficient to conclusively establish a diagnosis of a particular disease. To verify a preliminary diagnosis based on an acylcarnitine analysis, independent biochemical (eg, FAO / Fatty Acid Oxidation Probe Assay, Fibroblast Culture) or molecular genetic analyses are required using additional tissue such as skin fibroblasts from the deceased patient. If not available, molecular genetic analysis of a patient's parents may enable the confirmation of a diagnosis.

Clinical Reference

1. Rinaldo P, Matern D, Bennet BJ: Fatty acid oxidation disorders. Ann Rev Physiol 2002;64:477-502

2. Rashed MS, Ozand PT, Bennett MJ, et al: Inborn errors of metabolism diagnosed in sudden death cases by acylcarnitine analysis of postmortem bile. Clin Chem 1995;41:1109-1114

3. Chace DH, DiPerna JC, Mitchell BL, et al: Electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for analysis of acylcarnitines in dried postmortem blood specimens collected at autopsy from infants with unexplained cause of death. Clin Chem 2001;47:1166-1182

4. Pryce JW, Weber MA, Heales S, et al: Tandem mass spectrometry findings at autopsy for detection of metabolic disease in infant deaths: postmortem changes and confounding factors. J Clin Pathol 2011;64:1005-1009

Analytic Time

2 days

Method Name

Electrospray Tandem Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS)

Mayo Medical Laboratories | Genetics and Pharmacogenomics Catalog Additional Information:

mml-biochemical