A greater awareness of children with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency is imperative in western countries

Line Kristensen, Amanda Bk Lai, Finn Ebbesen, Mette L Donneborg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


AIM: This national retrospective Danish study described the characteristics of children diagnosed with glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD) deficiency, an inherited X-linked recessive disorder that often affects children of Middle Eastern descent.

METHODS: We studied children born between 1 January 2000 and 31 December 2017 and diagnosed with G6PD deficiency. They were identified from the Danish National Hospital Discharge Register and the Danish Database of Extreme Neonatal Hyperbilirubinaemia.

RESULTS: There were 113 children diagnosed with G6PD deficiency, 67% were of Middle Eastern descent and they were frequently diagnosed before the onset of symptoms, based on known heredity. Of the 67 infants born in Denmark, 10% had extreme neonatal hyperbilirubinaemia and one developed kernicterus spectrum disorder, as did one child born in the Middle East. Most (61%) of the 33 children with jaundice received phototherapy, 12% had exchange transfusions and 18% received whole blood transfusions. After the neonatal period, 23% of the cohort had blood transfusions and 4% needed intensive care for acute haemolytic anaemia. The incidence of G6PD deficiency appeared to be severely underestimated.

CONCLUSION: Many families from countries where G6PD deficiency is endemic move to Denmark and other Western countries. Greater awareness is essential to avoid chronic and potentially lethal, consequences.

Original languageEnglish
JournalActa Paediatrica
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1935-1941
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

©2021 Foundation Acta Paediatrica. Published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • Child
  • Denmark/epidemiology
  • Exchange Transfusion, Whole Blood
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase
  • Glucosephosphate Dehydrogenase Deficiency/ethnology
  • Humans
  • Hyperbilirubinemia, Neonatal
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Jaundice, Neonatal
  • Middle East/ethnology
  • Retrospective Studies


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