Cardiac monitoring and treatment for children and adolescents with neuromuscular disorders

Dev Med Child Neurol. 2006 Mar;48(3):231-5. doi: 10.1017/S0012162206000491.


Dilated cardiomyopathy, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, and cardiac rhythm disturbances are important features of certain neuromuscular disorders in children, adolescents, and young adults. This article summarizes the cardiac features seen in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, Becker muscular dystrophy, myotonic dystrophy, Friedreich's ataxia, and Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy. The optimal management of these cardiac features remains contentious, but increasingly these patients are referred for routine cardiological assessment in the absence of symptoms. This article examines the value of routine screening and drug interventions for cardiac complications in asymptomatic and symptomatic individuals with neuromuscular disorders. We recommend a pragmatic approach, actively looking for cardiac conditions which will benefit from early intervention, but avoiding routine screening for asymptomatic conditions in which there is no evidence of benefit from early intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Age of Onset
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Dilated / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / diagnosis
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / etiology
  • Child
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Friedreich Ataxia / complications
  • Heart Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Heart Diseases / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophies / complications*
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne / complications
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss / complications
  • Myotonic Dystrophy / complications