Postmortem Screening, Bile and Blood Spots
NY State Approved Indicates the status of NY State approval and if the test is orderable for NY State clients.
Postmortem evaluation of individuals at any age who died suddenly or unexpectedly. Testing is particularly recommended under the following circumstances (risk factors):
-Family history of sudden infant death syndrome or other sudden unexpected deaths at any age
-Family history of Reye syndrome
-Maternal complications of pregnancy (acute fatty liver pregnancy, HELLP syndrome [hemolysis, elevated liver enzymes, and low platelet count])
-Lethargy, vomiting, fasting in the 48 hours prior to death
-Allegation of child abuse (excluding obvious cases of trauma, physical harm)
-Macroscopic findings at autopsy:
- Fatty infiltration of the liver
- Dilated or hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Autopsy evidence of infection that routinely would not represent a life-threatening event
Genetics Test Information Provides information that may help with selection of the correct test or proper submission of the test request
Acylcarnitine analysis in blood and bile specimens to evaluate cases of sudden or unexpected death. Confirmatory enzymatic/molecular studies of cultured fibroblasts may be recommended.
Testing Algorithm Delineates situation(s) when tests are added to the initial order. This includes reflex and additional tests.
See Postmortem Screening Algorithm in Special Instructions.
Special Instructions and Forms Describes specimen collection and preparation information, test algorithms, and other information pertinent to test. Also includes pertinent information and consent forms to be used when requesting a particular test
Electrospray Tandem Mass Spectrometry (MS/MS)
Reporting Name A shorter/abbreviated version of the Published Name for a test; an abbreviated test name
FAO Disorder Screening
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder Screen
Sudden Death Evaluation
Sudden Unexpected Death Evaluation
Unexpected Death Evaluation
FAO Disorder Screening
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorder Screen
Sudden Death Evaluation
Sudden Unexpected Death Evaluation
Unexpected Death Evaluation
Specimen Type Describes the specimen type needed for testing
Specimen Required Defines the optimal specimen. This field describes the type of specimen required to perform the test and the preferred volume to complete testing. The volume allows automated processing, fastest throughput and, when indicated, repeat or reflex testing.
Bile and blood spots are required.
Container/Tube: Postmortem Screening Card (Supply T525)
Specimen Volume: Properly completed screening card
1. Collect blood in a heparin-containing tube and drop 25 mcL of blood onto each circle on 1 end of the special card.
2. Collect bile by direct puncture of the gallbladder and drop 25 mcL of bile onto each circle on the opposite end of the card.
3. Allow to dry at ambient temperature in a horizontal position for 3 or more hours.
4. Fill out information on page 2 of collection card.
5. Do not expose specimen to heat or direct sunlight.
6. Do not stack wet specimens.
7. Keep specimen dry.
1. Request the original newborn screening card from the state laboratory where the decedent was born.
2. See Request for Original Newborn Screening Card in Special Instructions.
Forms: If not ordering electronically, submit a Biochemical Genetics Request Form (Supply T439) with the specimen.
Specimen Minimum Volume Defines the amount of specimen required to perform an assay once, including instrument and container dead space. Submitting the minimum specimen volume makes it impossible to repeat the test or perform confirmatory or perform reflex testing. In some situations, a minimum specimen volume may result in a QNS (quantity not sufficient) result, requiring a second specimen to be collected.
Bile Spot: 1 and Blood Spot: 1
Specimen Stability Information Provides a description of the temperatures required to transport a specimen to the laboratory. Alternate acceptable temperature(s) are also included.
|Whole blood||Ambient (preferred)|
Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test
Postmortem screening involves acylcarnitine analysis in blood and/or bile specimens to evaluate cases of sudden or unexpected death. Acylcarnitine analysis enables the diagnosis of many disorders of fatty acid oxidation and several organic acidurias, as relevant enzyme deficiencies cause the accumulation of specific acyl-CoAs. Fatty acid oxidation (FAO) plays a major role in energy production during periods of fasting. When the body's supply of glucose is depleted, fatty acids are mobilized from adipose tissue, taken up by the liver and muscles, and oxidized to acetyl-CoA. In the liver, acetyl-CoA is the building block for the synthesis of ketone bodies, which enter the blood stream and provide an alternative substrate for production of energy in other tissues when the supply of glucose is insufficient to maintain a normal level of energy. The acyl groups are conjugated with carnitine to form acylcarnitines, which are measured by tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS). Diagnostic results are usually characterized by a pattern of significantly elevated acylcarnitine species compared to normal and disease controls.
In general, more than 20 inborn errors of metabolism can be identified using this method including FAO disorders and organic acidurias. The major clinical manifestations associated with individual FAO disorders include hypoketotic hypoglycemia, variable degrees of liver disease and/or failure, skeletal myopathy, dilated/hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and sudden or unexpected death. Organic acidurias also present as acute life-threatening events early in life with metabolic acidosis, increased anion gap, and neurologic distress. Patients with any of these disorders are at risk of developing fatal metabolic decompensations following the acquisition of even common viral infections. Once diagnosed, these disorders can be treated by avoidance of fasting, special diets, and cofactor/vitamin supplementation.
Analysis of acylcarnitines in blood and bile spots represents the first level of evaluation of a complete postmortem investigation of a sudden or unexpected death of an individual. Additional confirmatory testing is recommended. The diagnosis of an underlying FAO disorder or organic aciduria allows genetic counseling of the family, including the possible option of future prenatal diagnosis, and testing of at-risk family members of any age.
Disorders Detectable by Acylcarnitine Analysis*
Fatty Acid Oxidation Disorders:
-Short-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (SCAD) deficiency
-Medium/Short-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (M/SCHAD) deficiency
-Medium-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (MCAD) deficiency
-Long-chain 3-hydroxyacyl-CoA dehydrogenase (LCHAD) deficiency & trifunctional protein deficiency
-Very long-chain acyl-CoA dehydrogenase (VLCAD) deficiency
-Carnitine palmitoyl transferase type II (CPT-II) deficiency
-Carnitine-acylcarnitine translocase (CACT) deficiency
-Electron-Transferring Flavoproteins (ETF) deficiency, ETF-dehydrogenase deficiency (multiple acyl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency [MADD]; glutaric acidemia type II)
Organic Acid Disorders:
-Glutaryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency (glutaric acidemia type I)
-3-Hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl-CoA carboxylase deficiency
-3-Methylcrotonyl carboxylase deficiency
-Multiple carboxylase deficiency
-Isobutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency
-2-Methylbutyryl-CoA dehydrogenase deficiency
*Further confirmatory testing is required for most of these conditions because an acylcarnitine profile can be suggestive of more than 1 condition.
See Postmortem Screening Algorithm in Special Instructions. Refer to The Metabolic Autopsy: Postmortem Screening in Cases of Sudden, Unexpected Death, Mayo Medical Laboratories Communique 2003 Sep;28(9) for more information regarding diagnostic strategy.
Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.
Quantitative results are compared to a constantly updated range which corresponds to the 5 to 95 percentile interval of all postmortem cases analyzed in our laboratory.
Reports of abnormal acylcarnitine profiles will include an overview of the results and of their significance, a correlation to available clinical information, possible differential diagnoses, recommendations for additional biochemical testing and confirmatory studies (enzyme assay, molecular analysis) as indicated, name and phone number of contacts who may provide these studies at Mayo Clinic or elsewhere, and a phone number to reach one of the laboratory directors in case the referring physician has additional questions.
Abnormal results are not always sufficient to conclusively establish a diagnosis of a particular disease. To verify a preliminary diagnosis based on an acylcarnitine analysis, independent biochemical (eg, FAO/81927 Fatty Acid Oxidation Probe Assay, Fibroblast Culture) or molecular genetic analyses are required using additional tissue such as skin fibroblasts from the deceased patient. If not available, molecular genetic analysis of a patient's parents may enable the confirmation of a diagnosis.
Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances
Both blood and bile specimens must be collected in order to detect and independently confirm the largest possible number of disorders. However, if only one specimen type is available, testing is still beneficial.
In cases with a higher level of suspicion due to the recognition of 1 or more risk factors, collection of urine on filter paper and a skin biopsy is also recommended for further testing and enzymatic/molecular studies. Please contact the Biochemical Genetic consultant or genetic counselor on call at 800-533-1710 to discuss high risk cases.
In comparison to living individuals, profiles of postmortem blood specimens generally show a nonspecific increase of short chain species.
Patients with secondary carnitine deficiency may display uninformative acylcarnitine profiles in blood, but not in bile.
Several fatty acid oxidation disorders are not associated with abnormal acylcarnitine profiles (eg, carnitine palmitoyltransferase I (CPT I) deficiency, 3-hydroxy-3-methylglutaryl CoA synthase (HMG-CoA synthase) deficiency) and will not be detected.
Clinical Reference Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
1. Rinaldo P, Matern D, Bennet BJ: Fatty acid oxidation disorders. Ann Rev Physiol 2002;64:477-502
2. Rashed MS, Ozand PT, Bennett MJ, et al: Inborn errors of metabolism diagnosed in sudden death cases by acylcarnitine analysis of postmortem bile. Clin Chem 1995;41:1109-1114
3. Chace DH, DiPerna JC, Mitchell BL, et al: Electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for analysis of acylcarnitines in dried postmortem blood specimens collected at autopsy from infants with unexplained cause of death. Clin Chem 2001;47:1166-1182
4. Pryce JW, Weber MA, Heales S, et al: Tandem mass spectrometry findings at autopsy for detection of metabolic disease in infant deaths: postmortem changes and confounding factors. J Clin Pathol 2011;64:1005-1009
Method Description Describes how the test is performed and provides a method-specific reference
Blood and bile are collected on the same filter paper card; newborn screening filter paper cards are used. Blood drawn into heparin-containing tubes and bile collected by direct puncture of the gallbladder are spotted on a filter paper card. Two circles at one end of the card are used for blood, 2 circles at the opposite end for the bile (each 25 microL of volume). A 3/16" disk is punched out of the dried blood or 1/16" dried bile spot into an Eppendorf tube. The acylcarnitines are extracted by the addition of methanol and known concentrations of isotopically labeled acylcarnitines as internal standards. The extract is transferred to a Reacti-Vial, dried under a stream of nitrogen, and derivatized by the addition of n-butanol hydrochloric acid. The acylcarnitines are measured as their butyl esters by electrospray tandem mass spectrometry. The concentration of the analytes is established by computerized comparison of ion intensities of these analytes to that of the respective internal standards. (Chace DH, DiPerna JC, Mitchell BL, et al: Electrospray tandem mass spectrometry for analysis of acylcarnitines in dried postmortem blood specimens collected at autopsy from infants with unexplained cause of death. Clin Chem 2001;47:1166-1182)
Day(s) and Time(s) Test Performed Outlines the days and times the test is performed. This field reflects the day and time the sample must be in the testing laboratory to begin the testing process and includes any specimen preparation and processing time required before the test is performed. Some tests are listed as continuously performed, which means assays are performed several times during the day.
Tuesday; 11 a.m.
Analytic Time Defines the amount of time it takes the laboratory to setup and perform the test. This is defined in number of days. The shortest interval of time expressed is "same day/1 day," which means the results may be available the same day that the sample is received in the testing laboratory. One day means results are available 1 day after the sample is received in the laboratory.
Maximum Laboratory Time Defines the maximum time from specimen receipt at Mayo Medical Laboratories until the release of the test result
Specimen Retention Time Outlines the length of time after testing that a specimen is kept in the laboratory before it is discarded
Performing Laboratory Location The location of the laboratory that performs the test
Test Classification Provides information regarding the medical device classification for laboratory test kits and reagents. Tests may be classified as cleared or approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and used per manufacturer's instructions, or as products that do not undergo full FDA review and approval, and are then labeled as an Analyte Specific Reagent (ASR), Investigation Use Only (IUO) product, or a Research Use Only (RUO) product.
This test was developed and its performance characteristics determined by Mayo Clinic in a manner consistent with CLIA requirements. This test has not been cleared or approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
CPT Code Information Provides guidance in determining the appropriate Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) code(s) information for each test or profile. The listed CPT codes reflect Mayo Medical Laboratories interpretation of CPT coding requirements. It is the responsibility of each laboratory to determine correct CPT codes to use for billing.
LOINC® Code Information Provides guidance in determining the Logical Observation Identifiers Names and Codes (LOINC) values for the result codes returned for this test or profile.
|Result ID||Reporting Name||LOINC Code|
|22679||Reason For Referral||42349-1|