In contrast with Steinert's disease (DM1), type 2 muscular dystrophy (DM2) is not known to be associated with a high prevalence of cardiac involvement. Our objective was to compare the results of detailed cardiac investigations in populations of DM2 and DM1 patients, and in controls. Thirty-eight DM2 patients (17 males; age=57.1+/-15.2years) were investigated for possible heart involvement, and their results compared with 76 age-sex matched DM1 patients and 76 controls. Cardiac abnormalities were present in 15 DM2 patients, including conductive defects in 14, systolic dysfunction in 6, supraventricular arrhythmias in 6 and stroke in 5 patients and were significantly more frequent than in controls. When compared to DM1 patients, conductive defects were less frequent, supraventricular arrhythmias had similar prevalence and there was a trend towards more frequent left ventricular dysfunction in DM2 patients. Our study suggests that systematic cardiac investigations should be recommended in these patients.