Mitochondrial disorders are complex, chronic genetic disorders that occur when the mitochondria (cell level energy producers) in the cell fail to produce enough energy for cells or organs. Mitochondrial disorders typically affect multiple organs and this makes it difficult to predict the severity and/or the range of symptoms in the individual child. There are many different types of mitochondrial disorders and they can vary in their presentation from day to day, hour to hour.
Mitochondrial disorders are more common than had been previously thought and it is now estimated that 1 in 8,500 people worldwide have a mitochondrial disorder.
Mitochondria are responsible for more than 90% of energy needed by the body to sustain life and support growth. Mitochondria are found in all cells except red blood cells. Some mitochondrial disorders affect a single organ, but many involve multiple organ systems and often affect nervous system and muscles.