Newly diagnosed with Pearson Syndrome
The following are recommendations for families of those newly diagnosed with Pearson Syndrome. They are based on recommendations from The Champ Foundation’s first Pearson Syndrome Conference, held on February 5, 2018. Clinicians in attendance included Dr. Suneet Agarwal (Boston Children’s Hospital), Dr. Peter Aziz (Cleveland Clinic), Dr. Rebecca Ganetzky (CHOP), Dr. Amy Goldstein (CHOP), Dr. Elad Jacoby (Sheba Medical Center), and Dr. Sumit Parikh (Cleveland Clinic).
These guidelines do not substitute for medical advice and all interventions should be approved and decided by your child’s doctors.
Understanding Pearson Syndrome
Pearson Syndrome is a very rare primary mitochondrial disorder due to a mitochondrial DNA deletion. While each case is different, individuals are often at risk of anemia, impaired vision, hearing loss, cardiac rhythm disturbances, endocrine dysfunction, pancreatic insufficiency and kidney problems.
Set up a team of doctors
Pearson Syndrome can affect multiple organ systems in the body. Your child’s medical team may include a hematologist, endocrinologist, cardiologist, ophthalmologist, neurologist, gastroenterologist, geneticist, and nephrologist. It may be of value to find a specialist for each, even if your child does not currently present symptoms. This enables you to be comfortable with the doctor, establish baseline values, and monitor changes. Your doctors may be interested in general care guidelines for patients with mitochondrial diseases, which can be found at bit.ly/mitocare.
Gather emergency letters from appropriate doctors
Pearson Syndrome sufferers may be more sensitive to physiological stressors. This means minor illnesses, dehydration, fever, temperature extremes, surgery, anesthesia, and fasting can be particularly dangerous. Avoiding these situations is very important, but when your child is having a sick day, it is of critical importance that emergency room doctors have the most up-to-date recommendations for patient care. These recommendations should include guidelines for: (1) labs to be drawn and monitored, (2) fluids to be provided in case of dehydration, (3) response to lactic acidosis, (4) specific drugs to be avoided, (5) precautions during anesthesia and surgery, and (6) provision of supplements and antioxidants. An example emergency letter is attached.
Consider participation in the Pearson Syndrome Natural History Study
The purpose of this 3-year, multi-site, non-randomized, prospective, observational study is to characterize the natural history of Pearson Syndrome. This study is centered at the Cleveland Clinic, with Dr. Sumit Parikh as the principal investigator. Dr. Parikh and his colleagues have seen many children with Pearson Syndrome; their input, to both families and doctors, is extremely valuable. To enroll, contact Leasana Sanders at (216) 444-1994 or [email protected]
Medications and the "mito cocktail"
There is currently no approved treatment or cure for Pearson Syndrome. Many doctors, however, suggest a therapeutic trial of coenzyme Q10, along with a combination of additional antioxidants such as creatine, arginine, L-Carnitine, thiamine, vitamins C and E, alpha-lipoic acid, and folinic acid. Be sure to work directly with your doctor to determine what medications and vitamins, and what dosages, are best for your child.
Connect with other families
Connecting with other families living with a Pearson Syndrome diagnosis can provide emotional support and a wealth of useful information. If interested, request to join the Facebook group "Pearson Syndrome Family".
Join our efforts to find a cure
Research is necessary to better understand how to treat Pearson Syndrome, and is the only hope for children suffering from this debilitating disease. If you are interested in working with The Champ Foundation to help find new therapeutic approaches for treating this condition, please contact us at [email protected].