Newborn screening for medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency in England: prevalence, predictive value and test validity based on 1.5 million screened babies

J Med Screen. 2011;18(4):173-81. doi: 10.1258/jms.2011.011086. Epub 2011 Dec 13.


Background: Medium chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (MCADD) is a rare, life-threatening condition. Early diagnosis by screening asymptomatic newborns may improve outcome, but the benefit to newborns identified with variants not encountered clinically is uncertain.

Objective: To estimate, overall and by ethnic group: screen-positive prevalence and predictive value (PPV); MCADD prevalence; proportion MCADD variants detected of predicted definite or uncertain clinical importance.

Setting: All births in areas of high ethnic minority prevalence in England.

Methods: Prospective multicentre pilot screening service; testing at age five to eight days; standardized screening, diagnostic and management protocols; independent expert review of screen-positive cases to assign MCADD diagnosis and predicted clinical importance (definite or uncertain).

Results: Approximately 1.5 million babies (79% white; 10% Asian) were screened. MCADD was confirmed in 147 of 190 babies with a positive screening result (screen-positive prevalence: 1.20 per 10,000; MCADD prevalence: 0.94 per 10,000; PPV 77% [95% CI 71-83]), comprising 103 (70%) with MCADD variants of definite clinical importance (95 white [95%]; 2 Asian [2%]) and 44 (30%) with variants of uncertain clinical importance (29 white [67%]; 12 Asian [28%]).

Conclusion: One baby in every 10,000 born in England is diagnosed with MCADD by newborn screening; around 60 babies each year. While the majority of MCADD variants detected are predicted to be of definite clinical importance, this varies according to ethnic group, with variants of uncertain importance most commonly found in Asian babies. These findings provide support for MCADD screening but highlight the need to take account of the ethnic diversity of the population tested at implementation.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase / deficiency
  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase / genetics*
  • Asians / genetics
  • Decision Trees
  • England / epidemiology
  • Ethnicity / genetics
  • Female
  • Genetic Testing
  • Genetic Variation
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / diagnosis*
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / enzymology
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / epidemiology
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / genetics
  • Male
  • Neonatal Screening / ethics
  • Neonatal Screening / methods*
  • Neonatal Screening / standards
  • Pilot Projects
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Whites / genetics


  • Acyl-CoA Dehydrogenase

Supplementary concepts

  • Medium chain acyl CoA dehydrogenase deficiency