What is included in long-term monitoring of Wilson disease?

Updated: Feb 14, 2019
  • Author: Richard K Gilroy, MBBS, FRACP; Chief Editor: Praveen K Roy, MD, AGAF  more...
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Perform a physical examination, 24-hour urinary copper excretion assay, complete blood count (CBC), urinalysis, serum free copper measurement, and renal and liver function tests on a weekly basis for the first 4-6 weeks following initiation of chelation therapy.

The best way to monitor efficacy is to measure serum nonceruloplasmin-bound copper. This is measured by the following formula: Total serum copper (mcg/dL) - 3[ceruloplasmin (mg/dL)]. The reference range is less than 15 mcg/dL.

An adjunctive way to monitor efficacy is to measure urinary copper excretion. Urinary chelator levels usually measure 200-500 mcg/day. Urinary zinc levels usually measure less than 75 mcg/day.

Bimonthly evaluations are recommended through the first year, followed by yearly examinations thereafter. In patients with Kayser-Fleischer rings, a yearly slit-lamp examination should document fading or disappearance if patients are being adequately "decoppered."

Lifelong, uninterrupted chelation therapy is necessary in all patients with Wilson disease. Frequent follow-up with patients is necessary, secondary to patient decompensation due to noncompliance. This is one of the major causes of fulminant liver failure. Patients must avoid most alcohol consumption and potential hepatotoxic drug therapy.

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