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How can mitochondrial disorders be managed?

Q: My 10 years old son got his first ever fits three and a half years back. Till now, he has had fits four times. The doctor told us that he is suffering from mitochondrial myopathy and he has to use medicines throughout his life. Now his vision and physical fitness is not good too. The doctor said it is a genetic problem. Can we plan another child?

A:Mitochondrial disorders are inherited disorders which affect multiple organs like the brain, muscles, nerves, heart, pancreas etc. Before planning another child, I would recommend that an exact diagnosis be reached in your child, i.e. the type of mitochondrial encephalomyopathy and the DNA mutation involved. This will require blood tests and maybe muscle biopsy. A consultation with a medical genetics expert should be done to check for antenatal diagnosis.

Further, I would suggest the child's medication be changed from Gardinal to Lamotrigine or Levetericetam. Lastly, mitochondrial disorders are a life long illness.


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