JOURNAL ARTICLE
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A study on the nature of genetic metabolic practice at a major paediatric referral centre.

A retrospective chart review of new paediatric patients seen during the calendar year 1998 by specialists of the Division of Clinical and Metabolic Genetics of the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto, the largest such referral centre in the country, showed that 81% of specific genetic metabolic diagnoses were made within one month of being seen in consultation by one of the consultants of the programme. In 5% of cases, a specific diagnosis was not reached 4 years after initial consultation. We concluded from this study that the specific diagnosis of inborn errors of metabolism at a major medical genetic referral centre tended to be made quickly, or never. Some of the causes of delays in diagnosis include (1) the lack of ready access to existing diagnostic laboratory testing; (2) technical barriers to the identification of specific metabolic or genetic defects; and (3) incomplete knowledge of genetic defects causing inherited metabolic diseases.

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