Alpha-mannosidosis is a rare lysosomal storage disorder that generally presents in early childhood. It is a progressive, highly heterogeneous disease that is difficult to recognize, and a diagnosis is usually reached after referrals to multiple specialists. It is important to understand the challenges faced by patients and their caregiver up to and after a diagnosis of alpha-mannosidosis. In this report, we describe the process of alpha-mannosidosis diagnosis and treatment from the caregivers’ and physicians’ perspectives. For the caregivers’ perspective, the mothers of two patients with alpha-mannosidosis (‘Adele’ aged 35 years and ‘Amedeo’ aged 40 years) were interviewed in their homes in Italy, and anonymized transcripts were used to describe their experiences. Adele lived in a large city with access to hospitals and specialized centers and was diagnosed with alpha-mannosidosis before 3 years of age. Amedeo was from a small village and was diagnosed when he was 10–11 years old. In both cases, their mothers sought help from pediatricians and other specialists for recurrent infections and delayed speech and motor development in the first years of their lives, but diagnosis was delayed. Although the diagnostic pathway was concerning and frustrating for her mother, Adele was able to live at home and receive multidisciplinary care and psychosocial support locally, but the transition from pediatric to adult services was difficult. She is currently waiting for access to enzyme replacement therapy. Amedeo had to travel widely and frequently to receive a diagnosis and access supportive treatment. The cumulative morbidity resulting from the delays and poor access to care necessitated long-term residential care. From the physicians’ perspective, greater awareness of alpha-mannosidosis is required among healthcare professionals and more support is needed for patients and caregivers, particularly those living in rural areas or small centers.
- Child, Preschool
- Enzyme replacement therapy
- Lysosomal storage disorder
- Recombinant human alpha-mannosidase
- Velmanase alfa