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Rev Neurol (Paris). 2012 Dec;168(12):910-8. doi: 10.1016/j.neurol.2011.11.008. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Recommendations for the management of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy in 2011.

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Centre of Reference for neuromuscular diseases and ALS, University Teaching Hospital, CHU La Timone, 264 rue Saint-Pierre, Marseille, France.


Facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) is a neuromuscular disease, characterized by an autosomal dominant mode of inheritance, facial involvement, and selectivity and asymmetry of muscle involvement. In general, FSHD typically presents before age 20 years. Usually, FSHD muscle involvement starts in the face and then progresses to the shoulder girdle, the humeral muscles and the abdominal muscles, and then the anterolateral compartment of the leg. Disease severity is highly variable and progression is very slow. About 20% of FSHD patients become wheelchair-bound. Lifespan is not shortened. The diagnosis of FSHD is based on a genetic test by which a deletion of 3.3kb DNA repeats (named D4Z4 and mapping to the subtelomeric region of chromosome 4q35) is identified. The progressive pattern of FSHD requires that the severity of symptoms as well as their physical, social and psychological impact be evaluated on a regular basis. A yearly assessment is recommended. Multidisciplinary management of FSHD--consisting of a combination of genetic counselling, functional assessment, an assessment by a physical therapist, prescription of symptomatic therapies and prevention of known complications of this disease--is required. Prescription of physical therapy sessions and orthopedic appliances are to be adapted to the patient's deficiencies and contractures.

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