An overview of Alkaptonuria (AKU) or 'black bone disease'

This learning module has been accredited by the Royal College of Nursing and was last updated in 2019.

All modules are subject to external double-blind peer review and checked for plagiarism using automated software.

Duration: 02:00:00 Type: CPD modules Level: Qualified Nurses


Lesley Harrison, Patient support manager, AKU Society, Cambridge
Helen Bygott, Research nurse, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital
Emily Luangrath, Research nurse, Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospital

Short description

This module provides a review of alkaptonuria (AKU) or ‘black bone disease’, including the signs, symptoms, diagnosis and management of the condition.

Detailed description

AKU is a rare genetic disease that prevents the body fully breaking down two protein building blocks (amino acids) called tyrosine and phenylalanine. The disease is often misdiagnosed or diagnosed late. This module introduces nurses to the condition and explains how to recognise it. An increase in awareness should lead to an earlier diagnosis, giving patients access to timely disease-modifying therapy.


Please note that information provided by RCNI Learning is not sufficient to ensure competence in the skill. Assessment of competence should take place in line with local practice. Practice should always align with local protocols and procedures, latest guidelines and any regulatory Code.