Rapid whole-exome sequencing (rWES) is used in critically ill newborn infants to inform about diagnosis, clinical management, and prognosis. Here we report a male newborn infant with hydrops, pancytopenia, and acute liver failure who was listed for liver transplantation. Given the acuity of the presentation, the procedure-related morbidity and mortality, and lack of diagnosis, we used rWES in the proband and both parents with a turnaround time of 10 business days. rWES returned one maternally inherited, likely pathogenic and one paternally inherited, likely pathogenic variant in NPC1, suggestive of a diagnosis of Niemann-Pick disease type C (NPC). Interestingly, a diagnosis of NPC was entertained prior to rWES, but deemed unlikely in light of absent cholesterol storage on liver biopsy and near-normal oxysterol levels in dried blood. The diagnosis of NPC was confirmed on filipin stain in fibroblasts demonstrating defective cholesterol trafficking. NPC is a slowly progressive neurodegenerative disorder that may also affect the liver with overall poor prognosis. It was decided to take the infant off the transplant list and transfer to palliative care, where he died after 4 wk. This case highlights the utility of rWES in an acute clinical setting for several domains of precision medicine including (1) diagnosis, (2) prognosis and outcome, (3) management and therapy, and (4) utilization of resources.
Keywords: fatal liver failure in infancy; fetal ascites; nonimmune hydrops fetalis.
© 2017 Rohanizadegan et al.; Published by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press.