Relation of Cardiac Dysfunction to Rhythm Abnormalities in Patients With Duchenne or Becker Muscular Dystrophies

Published:January 28, 2016DOI:
      The association between systolic cardiac dysfunction and arrhythmia development in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) or Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD) is generally assumed but has not been extensively studied. The purpose of this study was to describe arrhythmias in patients with DMD and BMD in the present era and determine whether arrhythmia development is associated with cardiac dysfunction. This is a single-center retrospective review of 237 Holters from 91 patients with DMD (mean = 17 ± 4 years, range 3 to 27 years) and 64 Holters from 21 patients with BMD (mean = 18 ± 7 years, range 4 to 31 years) with corresponding echocardiography. Holters were stratified by age of patient at the time of study and ejection fraction: normal (≥55%), mild (<55% and ≥45%), moderate (<45% and ≥30%), and severe (<30%). Arrhythmias included frequent atrial and ventricular premature complexes (>10/hr), couplets, and runs of supraventricular and ventricular tachycardias. Arrhythmias occurred in 44% of DMD and 57% of BMD patients and were significantly associated with decrease in cardiac function. Clinically significant arrhythmias (supraventricular tachycardia and ventricular tachycardia) occurred in 10% of all Holters obtained in patients with DMD and 25% of all Holters obtained in patients with BMD. Subgroup analysis of Holters from patients with DMD demonstrated that arrhythmias increased with decreasing ejection fraction regardless of age, but that age was also a significant predictor of arrhythmia development. In conclusion, among patients with DMD or BMD, arrhythmias increase with development of cardiac dysfunction.
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