Fabry disease in cardiology practice: Literature review and expert point of view

Arch Cardiovasc Dis. 2019 Apr;112(4):278-287. doi: 10.1016/j.acvd.2019.01.002. Epub 2019 Feb 28.


Fabry disease is an X-linked progressive multisystemic genetic sphingolipidosis caused by deficient activity of lysosomal α-galactosidase A. Men aged>30 years and women aged>40 years most often present with unexplained left ventricular hypertrophy, usually concentric and non-obstructive, but sometimes mimicking sarcomeric hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, particularly when isolated, as in the cardiac or late-onset variant of the disease. In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy cohorts, up to 1% of patients have been diagnosed with Fabry disease. Frequent cardiac symptoms include chronotropic incompetence, severe conduction disturbances and arrhythmias, heart failure and sudden death, and cardiovascular complications are currently the leading cause of death at a mean age of 55 years in men and 66 years in women. Complementary to screening for extracardiac manifestations, the initial cardiac evaluation should include long-duration electrocardiogram recordings, echocardiography and late gadolinium and T1 mapping magnetic resonance imaging. Abnormalities of a non-hypertrophied inferolateral wall at the base of the left ventricle (thinning, decreased strain, midwall fibrosis) and low native T1 signal on magnetic resonance imaging are evocative. Aggressive cardiac management may include the control of cardiovascular risk factors, anticoagulation, permanent cardiac pacing and/or an implantable cardioverter defibrillator device, while antiarrhythmics and beta-blockers should be used with caution. Specific therapy should be initiated at the earliest stage, when the first structural or functional cardiac abnormalities are detected, and should include enzyme replacement therapy (available since 2001) or chaperone therapy (available since 2016) (the use of which is limited to patients with Fabry disease and an amenable α-galactosidase A [GLA] gene mutation).

Keywords: Cardiomyopathie hypertrophique; Enzyme replacement therapy; Enzymothérapie substitutive; Fabry disease; Guidelines; Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy; Maladie de Fabry; Recommandations.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cardiology*
  • Cardiomyopathy, Hypertrophic / diagnosis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Echocardiography
  • Electrocardiography
  • Enzyme Replacement Therapy
  • Fabry Disease* / diagnosis
  • Fabry Disease* / mortality
  • Fabry Disease* / physiopathology
  • Fabry Disease* / therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular* / diagnosis
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular* / mortality
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular* / physiopathology
  • Hypertrophy, Left Ventricular* / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Prognosis
  • Risk Factors
  • Ventricular Function, Left
  • Ventricular Remodeling

Supplementary concepts

  • Fabry Disease, Cardiac Variant