Fabry disease, an X-linked lysosomal storage disorder affecting both men and women, is a relatively prevalent cause of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and is associated with significant morbidity and early death due to heart failure or ventricular arrhythmias. Fabry cardiomyopathy results from progressive build-up of glycosphingolipids in cardiac structures, but the underlying complex pathophysiologic mechanisms remain poorly understood. Disease-specific enzyme replacement therapy (ERT) is available for Fabry disease and, therefore, attention should be focused on early diagnosis of this progressive, life-threatening disease. Selected cardiology patients at high risk for Fabry disease can be tested using simple enzymatic assays, and diagnosis is confirmed by demonstration of a Fabry mutation. Testing cardiology patients with HCM of unknown etiology may identify previously unrecognized Fabry patients and allow genetic mapping to be carried out to identify other affected family members at a relatively early stage of the disease. Timely intervention early on in the disease is a key, as the best responses to ERT are seen in patients with the lowest degree of cardiac hypertrophy and fibrosis at the start of treatment.
Crown Copyright (c) 2009. Published by Elsevier Ireland Ltd. All rights reserved.