MCAD Information

What is MCAD

MCAD stands for medium chain acyl-coa dehydrogenase deficiency, It is one type of fatty acid oxidation disorder. People with MCAD have problems breaking down certain types of fat into energy for the body.

What causes MCAD

MCAD occurs when an enzyme, called “Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase” (MCAD) is either missing or not working properly. This enzyme’s job is to break down certain fats from the food we eat into energy. It also breaks down fat already stored in the body. Problems related to MCAD deficiency can be triggered by periods of fasting or by illnesses such as viral infections. This disorder is sometimes mistaken for Reye syndrome, a severe disorder that may develop in children while they appear to be recovering from viral infections such as chicken pox or flu. Most cases of Reye syndrome are associated with the use of aspirin during these viral infections. MCAD estimated to affect 1 in 10,000 people in the uk, and is passed down from parents to their offspring.

The types of MCAD and Symptoms- There are 3 types of MCAD:

  • Early MCAD- showing signs from birth to a few months old
  • Childhood MCAD- showing signs late infancy and into early childhood
  • Adult MCAD- showing signs into teenage years through to adulthood.

symptoms of MCAD can include vomiting, lack of energy (lethargy), and low blood sugar (hypoglycemia). In rare cases, symptoms of this disorder are not recognized early in life, and the condition is not diagnosed until adulthood. People with MCAD deficiency are at risk of serious complications such as seizures, breathing difficulties, liver problems, brain damage, coma, and sudden death.

Treating MCAD – Avoid going a long time without food Infants and young children with MCAD need to eat frequently to prevent a metabolic crisis. Your metabolic doctor will tell you how often your child needs to be fed. In general, it is often suggested that infants be fed every four to six hours. Some babies need to eat even more frequently than this. It is important that infants be fed during the night. They may need to be woken up to eat if they do not wake up on their own. Your metabolic doctor and dietician will give you an appropriate feeding plan for your infant. Your doctor will also give you a ‘sick day’ plan tailored to your child’s needs for you to follow during illnesses or other times when your child will not eat.

There is no cure for MCAD .To treat this disorder the affected person will need to see a metabolic specialist consultant. Avoid long periods without food known as fasting .Maintain a strict diet, that consumes of low fat (A Dietician can help you with this) . L-Carnitine supplement Call your doctor at the start of any illness, Always call your health care provider when your child has any of the following: poor appetite, low energy, excessive sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhoea, infection and a fever.