During an 18-month period, we noticed an alarming increase of newborn screening false positivity rate in identifying isovaleric acidemia. In 50 of 50 newborns presenting elevated C5-carnitine, we confirmed the presence of pivaloylcarnitine. Exogenous pivalate administration had been previously identified as the causal agent of this concern. No pivalic-ester prodrug is commercially available in Belgium, but pivalic derivates are also used in the cosmetic industry as emollient under the term "neopentanoate". We have identified neopentanoate-esters in a nipple-fissure unguent that was provided to young mothers. Ceasing distribution of this product hugely reduced the C5-carnitine false positivity rate.
Keywords: C5-carnitine; False positive; Inborn error of metabolism; Mass spectrometry; Newborn screening; Pivalic acid.
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