Neonatal hemochromatosis: genetic counseling based on retrospective pathologic diagnosis

Am J Med Genet. 1992 Nov 1;44(4):429-33. doi: 10.1002/ajmg.1320440408.


We report a case of neonatal hemochromatosis in which the genetic counseling was initiated by, and based on, retrospective pathologic diagnosis. Perinatal or neonatal hemochromatosis is beginning to be recognized as a distinct clinical entity and one of the most common causes of perinatal cirrhosis. The exact mechanism of liver damage and the relationship to adult type hemochromatosis have not been fully clarified. The pattern of fibrosis in the liver plus the abundant iron deposition in the liver and other organs separate this entity pathologically from other causes of neonatal liver failure. We report on a case of neonatal hemochromatosis that was diagnosed on retrospective autopsy review of an infant with supposed hereditary tyrosinemia, when the family presented for genetic counseling. This case emphasizes to the genetic counselor and pathologist the need to consider the diagnosis prenatally, after birth, or at death, as failure to do so would result in the inability to identify families at genetic risk for neonatal hemochromatosis or in mislabeling a family with another inborn error.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Genetic Counseling*
  • Hemochromatosis / diagnosis*
  • Hemochromatosis / genetics
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Retrospective Studies