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Prospective, phenotype-driven selection of critically ill neonates for rapid exome sequencing is associated with high diagnostic yield

Journal title
Genetics in medicine : official journal of the American College of Medical Genetics
Publication year
Gubbels, C. S.; VanNoy, G. E.; Madden, J. A.; Copenheaver, D.; Yang, S.; Wojcik, M. H.; Gold, N. B.; Genetti, C. A.; Stoler, J.; Parad, R. B.; Roumiantsev, S.; Bodamer, O.; Beggs, A. H.; Juusola, J.; Agrawal, P. B.; Yu, T. W.

PURPOSE: To investigate the impact of rapid-turnaround exome sequencing in critically ill neonates using phenotype-based subject selection criteria. METHODS: Intensive care unit babies aged <6 months with hypotonia, seizures, a complex metabolic phenotype, and/or multiple congenital malformations were prospectively enrolled for rapid (<7 day) trio-based exome sequencing. Genomic variants relevant to the presenting phenotype were returned to the medical team. RESULTS: A genetic diagnosis was attained in 29 of 50 (58%) sequenced cases. Twenty-seven (54%) patients received a molecular diagnosis involving known disease genes; two additional cases (4%) were solved with pathogenic variants found in novel disease genes. In 24 of the solved cases, diagnosis had impact on patient management and/or family members. Management changes included shift to palliative care, medication changes, involvement of additional specialties, and the consideration of new experimental therapies. CONCLUSION: Phenotype-based patient selection is effective at identifying critically ill neonates with a high likelihood of receiving a molecular diagnosis via rapid-turnaround exome sequencing, leading to faster and more accurate diagnoses, reducing unnecessary testing and procedures, and informing medical care.

Research abstracts