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Disease Profile

Carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1A deficiency

Prevalence estimates on Rare Medical Network websites are calculated based on data available from numerous sources, including US and European government statistics, the NIH, Orphanet, and published epidemiologic studies. Rare disease population data is recognized to be highly variable, and based on a wide variety of source data and methodologies, so the prevalence data on this site should be assumed to be estimated and cannot be considered to be absolutely correct.

<1 / 1 000 000

US Estimated

Europe Estimated

Age of onset






Autosomal dominant A pathogenic variant in only one gene copy in each cell is sufficient to cause an autosomal dominant disease.


Autosomal recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of each gene of the chromosome are needed to cause an autosomal recessive disease and observe the mutant phenotype.


dominant X-linked dominant inheritance, sometimes referred to as X-linked dominance, is a mode of genetic inheritance by which a dominant gene is carried on the X chromosome.


recessive Pathogenic variants in both copies of a gene on the X chromosome cause an X-linked recessive disorder.


Mitochondrial or multigenic Mitochondrial genetic disorders can be caused by changes (mutations) in either the mitochondrial DNA or nuclear DNA that lead to dysfunction of the mitochondria and inadequate production of energy.


Multigenic or multifactor Inheritance involving many factors, of which at least one is genetic but none is of overwhelming importance, as in the causation of a disease by multiple genetic and environmental factors.


Not applicable


Other names (AKA)

Carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1A deficiency; CPT1A deficiency; Hepatic CPT1;


Congenital and Genetic Diseases; Metabolic disorders; Newborn Screening


Carnitine palmitoyltransferase I deficiency (CPT1A deficiency) is an inherited metabolic condition that prevents the body from converting certain fats (long-chain fatty acids) into energy, particularly during periods without food. Carnitine, a natural substance acquired mostly through the diet, is required by cells to process fats and produce energy. Symptoms of this condition often appear early in life and include low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and low levels of ketones, which are produced when the body breaks down fat for energy (hypoketotic hypoglycemia). This can lead to a greater risk for loss of consciousness or seizures. People with this disorder typically also have an enlarged liver (hepatomegaly), muscle weakness, nervous system damage, and elevated levels of carnitine in the blood. CPT1A deficiency is caused by mutations in the CPT1A gene and is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Although there is no cure for CPT1A deficiency, symptoms can be managed using several strategies, such dietary changes and use of fat supplements.[1][2]


This table lists symptoms that people with this disease may have. For most diseases, symptoms will vary from person to person. People with the same disease may not have all the symptoms listed. This information comes from a database called the Human Phenotype Ontology (HPO) . The HPO collects information on symptoms that have been described in medical resources. The HPO is updated regularly. Use the HPO ID to access more in-depth information about a symptom.

Medical Terms Other Names
Learn More:
80%-99% of people have these symptoms
Behavioral abnormality
Behavioral changes
Behavioral disorders
Behavioral disturbances
Behavioral problems
Behavioral/psychiatric abnormalities
Behavioural/Psychiatric abnormality
Psychiatric disorders
Psychiatric disturbances

[ more ]

Elevated hepatic transaminase
High liver enzymes

[ more ]

Hepatic failure
Liver failure
Low blood sugar
Muscular hypotonia
Low or weak muscle tone
Neurological speech impairment
Speech disorder
Speech impairment
Speech impediment

[ more ]

Reduced tendon reflexes
Skeletal muscle atrophy
Muscle degeneration
Muscle wasting

[ more ]

30%-79% of people have these symptoms
Paralysis or weakness of one side of body
Enlarged liver
Loss of consciousness
Passing out
Transient hyperlipidemia
5%-29% of people have these symptoms
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Enlarged and thickened heart muscle
Renal tubular acidosis
Accumulation of acid in body due to kidney problem
Sudden cardiac death
Premature sudden cardiac death
Percent of people who have these symptoms is not available through HPO
Abnormal heart rate
Heart rhythm disorders
Irregular heart beat
Irregular heartbeat

[ more ]

Autosomal recessive inheritance
Enlarged heart
Increased heart size

[ more ]

Watery stool
Elevated serum creatine kinase
Elevated blood creatine phosphokinase
Elevated circulating creatine phosphokinase
Elevated creatine kinase
Elevated serum CPK
Elevated serum creatine phosphokinase
High serum creatine kinase
Increased CPK
Increased creatine kinase
Increased creatine phosphokinase
Increased serum CK
Increased serum creatine kinase
Increased serum creatine phosphokinase

[ more ]

Feeding difficulties in infancy
Generalized hypotonia
Decreased muscle tone
Low muscle tone

[ more ]

Hepatic steatosis
Fatty infiltration of liver
Fatty liver

[ more ]

High blood ammonia levels
Hypoketotic hypoglycemia
Prenatal maternal abnormality
Recurrent encephalopathy


Making a diagnosis for a genetic or rare disease can often be challenging. Healthcare professionals typically look at a person’s medical history, symptoms, physical exam, and laboratory test results in order to make a diagnosis. The following resources provide information relating to diagnosis and testing for this condition. If you have questions about getting a diagnosis, you should contact a healthcare professional.

Newborn Screening

  • An ACTion (ACT) sheet is available for this condition that describes the short-term actions a health professional should follow when an infant has a positive newborn screening result. ACT sheets were developed by experts in collaboration with the American College of Medical Genetics.
  • An Algorithm flowchart is available for this condition for determining the final diagnosis in an infant with a positive newborn screening result. Algorithms are developed by experts in collaboration with the American College of Medical Genetics.
  • Baby's First Test is the nation's newborn screening education center for families and providers. This site provides information and resources about screening at the local, state, and national levels and serves as the Clearinghouse for newborn screening information.
  • The Newborn Screening Coding and Terminology Guide has information on the standard codes used for newborn screening tests. Using these standards helps compare data across different laboratories. This resource was created by the National Library of Medicine.
  • National Newborn Screening and Global Resource Center (NNSGRC) provides information and resources in the area of newborn screening and genetics to benefit health professionals, the public health community, consumers and government officials.


    Treatment of CPT1A deficiency usually involves the support of a metabolic specialist and a dietician familiar with CPT1A deficiency. Treatment may differ depending on severity of symptoms and may be lifelong if necessary. Treatment may include:[3][2]

    • Avoidance prolonged fasting/going a long time without food
    • Incorporation of a low-fat, high carbohydrate diet 
    • Use of medium Chain Triglyceride oil (special type of oil made up of medium chain triglycerides a type of fatty acid)

    Children with CPT1A deficiency may require additional care during illness to avoid a metabolic crises. Call your healthcare provider should symptoms of an illness occur such as poor appetite, low energy or excessive sleepiness, vomiting, diarrhea, or fever.[2]

    Management Guidelines

    • Orphanet Emergency Guidelines is an article which is expert-authored and peer-reviewed that is intended to guide health care professionals in emergency situations involving this condition.


      Support and advocacy groups can help you connect with other patients and families, and they can provide valuable services. Many develop patient-centered information and are the driving force behind research for better treatments and possible cures. They can direct you to research, resources, and services. Many organizations also have experts who serve as medical advisors or provide lists of doctors/clinics. Visit the group’s website or contact them to learn about the services they offer. Inclusion on this list is not an endorsement by GARD.

      Organizations Supporting this Disease

        Organizations Providing General Support

          Learn more

          These resources provide more information about this condition or associated symptoms. The in-depth resources contain medical and scientific language that may be hard to understand. You may want to review these resources with a medical professional.

          Where to Start

          • Genetics Home Reference (GHR) contains information on Carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1A deficiency. This website is maintained by the National Library of Medicine.
          • The National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD) has a report for patients and families about this condition. NORD is a patient advocacy organization for individuals with rare diseases and the organizations that serve them.
          • The Screening, Technology And Research in Genetics (STAR-G) Project has a fact sheet on this condition, which was written specifically for families that have received a diagnosis as a result of newborn screening. This fact sheet provides general information about the condition and answers questions that are of particular concern to parents.

            In-Depth Information

            • GeneReviews provides current, expert-authored, peer-reviewed, full-text articles describing the application of genetic testing to the diagnosis, management, and genetic counseling of patients with specific inherited conditions.
            • The Monarch Initiative brings together data about this condition from humans and other species to help physicians and biomedical researchers. Monarch’s tools are designed to make it easier to compare the signs and symptoms (phenotypes) of different diseases and discover common features. This initiative is a collaboration between several academic institutions across the world and is funded by the National Institutes of Health. Visit the website to explore the biology of this condition.
            • Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM) is a catalog of human genes and genetic disorders. Each entry has a summary of related medical articles. It is meant for health care professionals and researchers. OMIM is maintained by Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. 
            • Orphanet is a European reference portal for information on rare diseases and orphan drugs. Access to this database is free of charge.
            • PubMed is a searchable database of medical literature and lists journal articles that discuss Carnitine palmitoyl transferase 1A deficiency. Click on the link to view a sample search on this topic.


              1. Carnitine palmitoyltransferase I deficiency. Genetics Home Reference. April 2014; https://ghr.nlm.nih.gov/condition=carnitinepalmitoyltransferaseideficiency. Accessed 11/11/2016.
              2. FATTY ACID OXIDATION DISORDERS. STAR-G Screening, Technology and Research in Genetics. 2/28/2016; https://www.newbornscreening.info/Parents/fattyaciddisorders/CPT1.html#3. Accessed 11/11/2016.
              3. Bennett MJ, Santani AB. Carnitine Palmitoyltransferase 1A Deficiency. GeneReviews. March 17, 2016; https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK1527/. Accessed 11/11/2016.

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