Subclinical cardiac involvement in patients with facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy

Neuromuscul Disord. 2005 Jun;15(6):403-8. doi: 10.1016/j.nmd.2005.02.006. Epub 2005 Apr 21.


Myocardial involvement is a common finding in certain myopathies, while it has not been extensively investigated in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD1A). Aim of this study was to assess in FSHD1A patients the electrical and functional properties of the myocardium. Twenty-four patients with FSHD1A (mean age 41.2+/-14.5 years) and 24 matched healthy subjects were studied. Standard- and signal-averaged electrocardiography were recorded to determine QT dispersion and the presence of ventricular late potentials (VLPs). Standard echocardiography with systo-diastolic variations of integrated backscatter signal (CV-IBS) were performed to assess functional properties of the myocardium. Compared with control subjects, patients with FSHD1A had significantly lower CV-IBS and higher QT dispersion. Nine patients had positive VLPs. QT and QTc dispersion were inversely related to CV-IBS at both septum and posterior wall levels. Moreover, septal CV-IBS was inversely related to the Kpnl-BinI4q fragment size. These results suggest a subclinical cardiac involvement in FSHD1A patients, which can represent a substrate for ventricular arrhythmias and heart failure.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome / diagnostic imaging
  • Long QT Syndrome / etiology*
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Facioscapulohumeral / complications*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Facioscapulohumeral / physiopathology*