Background: Clinical and molecular data on the occurrence and frequency of inherited neuromuscular disorders (NMD) in the Lebanese population is scarce.
Objective: This study aims to provide a retrospective overview of hereditary NMDs based on our clinical consultations in Lebanon.
Methods: Clinical and molecular data of patients referred to a multi-disciplinary consultation for neuromuscular disorders over a 20-year period (1999-2019) was reviewed.
Results: A total of 506 patients were diagnosed with 62 different disorders encompassing 10 classes of NMDs. 103 variants in 49 genes were identified. In this cohort, 81.4% of patients were diagnosed with motor neuron diseases and muscular dystrophies, with almost half of these described with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) (40.3% of patients). We estimate a high SMA incidence of 1 in 7,500 births in Lebanon. Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy were the second most frequently diagnosed NMDs (17% of patients). These disorders were associated with the highest number of variants (39) identified in this study. A highly heterogeneous presentation of Limb Girdle Muscular Dystrophy and Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease was notably identified. The least common disorders (5.5% of patients) involved congenital, metabolic, and mitochondrial myopathies, congenital myasthenic syndromes, and myotonic dystrophies. A review of the literature for selected NMDs in Lebanon is provided.
Conclusions: Our study indicates a high prevalence and underreporting of heterogeneous forms of NMDs in Lebanon- a major challenge with many novel NMD treatments in the pipeline. This report calls for a regional NMD patient registry.
Keywords: CMT; DMD; FSHD; Genetics; LGMD; Lebanon; SMA; neuromuscular.