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What is CTD?

CTD stands for Carnitine Transporter Deficiency and is an illness with reduced abilities to produce energy of burning fats, which is also called beta-oxidation of fatty acids, which is the most important source for the body’s energy.

The normal burning of fats is bound to a high level of carnitine in the body cells. The carnitine in the body originates from food (especially meat has a highl level of carnitine), and it is also produced in the body.

Many of the body cells have carnitine transporters in the cell walls, to ensure a high level of carnitine in the cells. For people with CTD these transporters nearly do not work, which gives the result that the content of carnitine in the cells is too low, and therefore the cells can not burn the fats. This can cause an energy deficiency, and also a blockage in the burning of fats and also cause a disturbance in the cell functions.

For people with CTD, who eat and drink normally, the body is able to provide for the necessary energy to burn especially sugars and other carbohydrates. However, if these persons, due to for example vomiting, are not able to intake food, they are very likely to suffer from an energy shortage, because their cells are not able to switch over to burning fatty acids, as it functions with healthy people. This means that especially the organs, who use most of the energy, will have big problems covering the energy demands, which includes the brain, the muscles and the heart.

It is confirmed that children with CTD can easily occur in a life-threatning energy deficiency in connection with epidemics such as vomiting. In these cases it is very important that they immediately receive carnitine and sugar directly in their blood with an IV line, until they are able to keep food and water in.

CTD can also with time have an effect on the heart, in which case the heartmuscle grows and also the cells that produce the electrical impulses and make the heartbeat. This can cause a sudden death due to auricular fibrillation.