Severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is a rare but important condition. Affected infants are born with profound abnormalities of immune cell function that lead to severe and recurrent infection that are almost always fatal in the first year of life without treatment. Infants with SCID are often initially seen by general paediatricians in the hospital care setting, and the recognition of the cardinal features of the disease and alertness to specific laboratory parameters are important in making an early diagnosis. There is also increasing interest in newborn screening for SCID, which has the potential to significantly improve outcome through early diagnosis and implementation of prophylactic medications. Definitive treatments such as haematopoietic stem cell transplantation and gene therapy have also made major advances over the last decade and again promise to improve the overall outcome for SCID with reduced long-term toxicities. In this review, we highlight some of the major advances in diagnosis and management of the disease, but we also want to emphasise the important role of the general paediatrician in making an early diagnosis and in ongoing management.
- General Paediatrics