Primary carnitine deficiency is a life-long disease.

Crefcoeur LL, Melles MC, Bruning TA, Pereira RR, Langendonk JG

JIMD reports, 2022 Nov


Primary carnitine deficiency is a rare autosomal recessive disease associated with acute hypoketotic hypoglycaemia, cardiomyopathy and sudden cardiac death. Effective treatment with carnitine supplementation is available. An 18 months old boy, who presented with cardiomyopathy was diagnosed with primary carnitine deficiency, and carnitine supplementation resulted in a full recovery. At age 13 years, he discontinued his medication and at 20 years, he discontinued clinical monitoring. Nine years later, age 29, he presented with heart failure and atrial fibrillation and was admitted to an intensive care unit, where he was treated with furosemide, enoximone and intravenous carnitine supplementation, this lead to improved cardiac function within 2 weeks, and with continued oral carnitine supplements, his left ventricular ejection fraction normalised. The last 8 years were uneventful and he continued to attend his regular follow-up visits at a specialised metabolic outpatient clinic. We report recurrent reversible severe heart failure in a patient with primary carnitine deficiency; it was directly related to non-compliance to carnitine supplementation (and monitoring). This case report emphasises first, the importance of continued monitoring of metabolic disease patients, second, the potential reversibility of cardiomyopathy in an adult patient, and third, the potential risks in the period of transition from the paediatric to adult care. This is an age where young adults desire to be healthy and ignore the need for ongoing medical treatment, even as simple as oral suppletion. Before they reach this age, adequate disease insight and self-management of the disease should be promoted.

doi: 10.1002/jmd2.12319