The Cure SMA Membership Surveys: Highlights of Key Demographic and Clinical Characteristics of Individuals with Spinal Muscular Atrophy

J Neuromuscul Dis. 2021;8(1):109-123. doi: 10.3233/JND-200563.


Background: Cure SMA maintains the largest patient-reported database for people affected with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). In 2017, Cure SMA initiated annual surveys with their membership to collect demographic and disease characteristics, healthcare, and burden of disease information from patients and caregivers.

Objective: To summarize results from two large-scale Cure SMA surveys in 2017 and 2018.

Methods: Cure SMA database members were invited to complete surveys; these were completed by caregivers for living or deceased individuals with SMA and/or affected adults.

Results: In 2017, 726 surveys were completed for 695 individuals with SMA; in 2018, 796 surveys were completed for 760 individuals with SMA. Data from both survey years are available for 313 affected individuals. Age at symptom onset, distribution of SMN2 gene copy number, and representation of each SMA type in the surveys were consistent with that expected in the SMA population. In the 2018 survey, the average age at diagnosis was 5.2 months for SMA type I and the reported mean age at death for this subgroup was 27.8 months. Between survey years, there was consistency in responses for factors that should not change within individuals over time (e.g., reported age at diagnosis).

Conclusions: Results from the Cure SMA surveys advance the understanding of SMA and facilitate advocacy efforts and healthcare services planning. Longitudinal surveys are important for evaluating the impact of effective treatments on changing phenotypes, and burden of disease and care in individuals with SMA.

Keywords: Spinal muscular atrophy; health care surveys; nusinersen; patient registries; patient-reported data.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / epidemiology*
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / genetics
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / physiopathology*
  • Muscular Atrophy, Spinal / therapy*
  • Organizations
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Patient Advocacy
  • Young Adult