We studied 13 patients with lipoamide dehydrogenase (LAD) deficiency, originating from seven Ashkenazi Jewish families. Their disease was characterized by recurrent attacks of vomiting, abdominal pain, and encephalopathy accompanied by elevated liver transaminases, prolonged prothrombin time, and occasionally associated with lactic and ketoacidemia or with myoglobinuria. Two patients who presented neonatally suffered from residual neurological damage with attention deficit hyperactive disorder, mild ataxia, motor incoordination, muscle hypotonia, and weakness. Nine patients who presented in early childhood or later suffered from exertional fatigue between decompensation episodes but were otherwise asymptomatic. Two patients died because of intractable metabolic acidosis and multi-organ failure. In all patients LAD activity was reduced to 8 to 21% of the control in muscle or lymphocytes. In four patients LAD protein in muscle was reduced to 20 to 60% of the control. Direct sequencing of the cDNA of the LAD gene showed that 12 of the 14 mutated alleles carried the G229C mutation and two carried an insertion mutation 105insA (Y35X). The patients who presented neonatally and had more severe sequelae were compound heterozygotes for the two mutations; patients who presented in early childhood or later were homozygous for the G229C mutation. Using an allele-specific oligonucleotide hybridization technique, nine heterozygotes for the G229C mutation were identified among 845 anonymous individuals of Ashkenazi Jewish origin disclosing a carrier rate of 1:94. Because of the significant morbidity associated with the disease, screening for the G229C mutation among Ashkenazi Jewish couples should be considered.