Inherited metabolic disorders presenting as hypoxic ischaemic encephalopathy: A case series of patients presenting at a tertiary care hospital in Pakistan

Document Type



Medical College Pakistan; Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Paediatrics and Child Health


In spite of the efforts and interventions by the Government of Pakistan and The World Health Organization, the neonatal mortality in Pakistan has declined by only 0.9% as compared to the global average decline of 2.1% between 2000 and 2010. This has resulted in failure to achieve the global Millennium Development Goal 4. Hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy, still birth, sepsis, pneumonia, diarrhoea and birth defects are commonly attributed as leading causes of neonatal mortality in Pakistan. Inherited metabolic disorders often present at the time of birth or the first few days of life. The clinical presentation of the inherited metabolic disorders including hypotonia, seizure and lactic acidosis overlap with clinical features of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy and sepsis. Thus, these disorders are often either missed or wrongly diagnosed as hypoxicischaemic encephalopathy or sepsis unless the physicians actively investigate for the underlying inherited metabolic disorders. We present 4 neonates who had received the diagnosis of hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy and eventually were diagnosed to have various inherited metabolic disorders. Neonates with sepsis and hypoxic-ischaemic encephalopathy-like clinical presentation should be evaluated for inherited metabolic disorders.

Publication (Name of Journal)

JPMA. The Journal of the Pakistan Medical Association