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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 1  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 266-268

Targeted breast milk modification: A low-cost feeding option in young infants with citrullinemia

Department of Neonatology, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Saikat Patra
Department of Neonatology, Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College and General Hospital, Sion, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ipcares.ipcares_263_21

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Background: The management of urea cycle disorders (UCDs) needs use of nitrogen scavenger drugs and protein restricted special formulas. The latter is not easily accessible and expensive. Continued breastfeeding is poorly tolerated by most babies. In these circumstances, targeted breast milk modification can be lifesaving by reducing ammonia and preventing a catabolic state. Clinical Description: A term baby born by normal delivery was discharged at 48 h after successfully initiating breastfeeding. He developed lethargy, poor feeding, and seizures on the 4th day. Vitals were stable. Sepsis, hypoglycemia, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy, dyselectrolytemia, hepatic/renal derangement, structural brain anomalies, cerebral edema, and hemorrhage were ruled out. A UCD was suspected due to hyperammonemia without acidosis. Citrullinemia was established by elevated citrulline and no orotic acid. Management: Breastfeeding was stopped, nitrogen scavenger drugs started, and peritoneal dialysis performed. As specialized milk formula was unavailable, we started diluted breast milk mixed with corn starch and coconut oil to achieve protein restriction and provide appropriate carbohydrates, lipids, and energy. Dilution was gradually decreased. There was gradual improvement in sensorium with normalization of ammonia. The baby was well till 8 weeks but developed symptomatic hyperammonemia due to noncompliance with therapy. Conclusion: Targeted modification of breast milk may be the only viable option for feeding infants with UCD in extraordinary circumstances. However, its short- and long-term consequences need to be researched thoroughly.

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