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Brain Nerve. 2011 Nov;63(11):1217-28.

[Management of myocardial damage in muscular dystrophy].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Neurology, National Hospital Organization Higashi-Saitama Hospital, Hasuda, Saitama, Japan.


Heart failure (HF) is a fatal complication in many muscular dystrophy cases and has become the most common cause of death in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) since 2001. HF deaths in DMD occur in young patients and increase, along with respiratory failure, in older patients. Managing HF, therefore, is the most important component of DMD treatment. Management of HF is necessary in DMD patients of all ages because myocardial damage progresses regardless of age and disability. Electrocardiography, echocardiography, myocardial single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT), and natriuretic peptides are used for the diagnosis of myocardial damage and chronic HF. Tissue Doppler echocardiography is in particularly useful for early detection of minute myocardial damage and dysfunction in DMD. The first-line drugs for chronic HF are angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and the prognosis of DMD patients has been improved using these drugs and beta-blockers. Diuretics are added in the presence of pulmonary congestion. Digoxin is most effective at a blood level of 0.5-0.8 ng/mL because of its pharmacokinetics in DMD. Surgical treatment may be necessary in cases of intractable HF. Cardiac resynchronization therapy (biventricular pacing), a treatment with an artificial pacemaker, is indicated for cases that meet specific criteria, including HF with ventricular dyssynchrony. Applications of partial left ventriculectomy (Batista procedure) and left ventricular assist devices in muscular dystrophy are likely in the near future.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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