'Classical organic acidurias' comprise isovaleric aciduria, propionic aciduria and methylmalonic aciduria. Available data from the literature suggest that the use of 'new' therapeutic strategies has improved survival but has not modified neurodevelopment. Progressive neurocognitive deterioration is almost invariably present in propionic and methylmalonic acidurias, while large-scale studies on the long-term outcome of patients with isovaleric aciduria are still lacking. In order to answer to some of the questions suggested by Wilson and Jungner in 1968 about the criteria of disease screening, we compared the natural history of patients with 'classical' organic acidurias diagnosed on clinical bases to those diagnosed through neonatal mass screening using tandem mass spectrometry. Decreased early mortality, less severe symptoms at diagnosis, and more favourable short-term neurodevelopmental outcome were recorded in patients identified through expanded newborn screening. The short duration of follow-up so far does not allow us to draw final conclusions about the effects of newborn screening on long-term outcome. The evaluation of the effect of neonatal screening on the detection rate of these three diseases showed that the incidence of isovaleric aciduria was significantly higher in the screening population than in clinically detected cases, with no changes for propionic and methylmalonic acidurias. Further multicentre longitudinal studies are needed to assess the usefulness of expanded newborn screening for 'classical' organic acidurias and to better understand the clinical spectrum of these diseases. This paper describes the long-term outcome and the impact of expanded newborn screening on the so-called 'classical' organic acidurias (propionic aciduria, methylmalonic aciduria and isovaleric aciduria).