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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency

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How might carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency be treated?

Although there is no standard treatment plan for carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency, there are treatments that have been found to be helpful in the management of this condition. Certain treatments may be helpful for some children but not others. When necessary, treatment are usually needed throughout life. Children with carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency should be followed by a metabolic doctor  and a dietician in addition to their primary doctor.[1]

Aggressive treatment of hypoglycemia, hyperammonemia and prevention of lipolysis (the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells) in the newborn may be lifesaving.[2] Infants and young children with carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency need to eat frequently to prevent a metabolic crisis. In general, it is often suggested that infants be fed every four to six hours, although some babies need to eat even more frequently than this. It is important that infants be fed during the night. They may need to be woken up to eat if they do not wake up on their own. Sometimes a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet is advised. Carbohydrates give the body many types of sugar that can be used as energy. In fact, for children needing this treatment, most food in the diet should be carbohydrates (bread, pasta, fruit, vegetables, etc.) and protein (lean meat and low-fat dairy food). Some children may be helped by taking L-carnitine. This is a safe and natural substance that helps body cells make energy. It also helps the body get rid of harmful wastes. However, supplementation with carnitine remains controversial, as its efficacy remains unknown.[2] Medium Chain Triglyceride oil (MCT oil) is sometimes used as part of the food plan for people with carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency. This special oil has medium chain fatty acids that people with carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency can use in small amounts for energy.[1]

You may be instructed to call your child's doctor at the start of any illness. Children with carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency need to eat extra starchy food and drink more fluids during any illness (even if they may not feel hungry) or they could develop a metabolic crisis.[1]

Last updated: 7/26/2013

  1. Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase deficiency. Screening, Technology and Research in Genetics. October 5, 2007; Accessed 4/4/2008.
  2. Copeland S, Tuerck J, Paradise L. Carnitine-Acylcarnitine Translocase Deficiency. Oregon Department of Human Services Newborn Screening. Accessed 4/4/2008.

Management Guidelines

  • Orphanet Emergency Guidelines is an article which is expert-authored and peer-reviewed that is intended to guide health care professionals in emergency situations involving this condition.  

Clinical Trials & Research for this Disease

  • The U.S. National Institutes of Health, through the National Library of Medicine, developed to provide patients, family members, and members of the public with current information on clinical research studies. There is a study titled Studies of Children with Metabolic or Other Genetic Disorders which may be of interest to you. To find this trial, click on the link above.
See Disclaimer regarding information on this site. Some links on this page may take you to organizations outside of the National Institutes of Health.