Global Prevalence of Myotonic Dystrophy: An Updated Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Neuroepidemiology. 2022;56(3):163-173. doi: 10.1159/000524734. Epub 2022 Apr 28.


Introduction: Myotonic dystrophy (DM), the most common muscular dystrophy in adults, is a group of autosomal inherited neuromuscular disorders characterized by progressive muscle weakness, myotonia, and cardiac conduction abnormalities. Due to the different gene mutations, DM has been subclassified into DM type 1 (DM1) and type 2 (DM2). However, the prevalence studies on DM and its subtypes are insufficient.

Methods: The PubMed (1966-2022), MEDLINE (1950-2022), Web of Science (1864-2022), and Cochrane Library (2022) databases were searched for original research articles published in English. The quality of the included studies was assessed by a checklist adapted from Strengthening the Reporting of Observational studies in Epidemiology. To derive the pooled epidemiological prevalence estimates, a meta-analysis was performed using the random-effects model. Heterogeneity was assessed using the Cochrane Q statistic and the I2 statistic.

Results: A total of 17 studies were included in the systematic review and meta-analysis. Of the 17 studies evaluated, 14 studies were considered medium quality, 2 studies were considered high quality, and 1 study was considered low quality. The global prevalence of DM varied widely from 0.37 to 36.29 cases per 100,000. The pooled estimate of the prevalence of DM was 9.99 cases (95% CI: 5.62-15.53) per 100,000. The pooled estimate of the prevalence of DM1 was 9.27 cases (95% CI: 4.73-15.21) per 100,000, ranging from 0.37 to 36.29 cases per 100,000. The pooled estimate of the prevalence of DM2 was 2.29 cases (95% CI: 0.17-6.53) per 100,000, ranging from 0.00 to 24.00 cases per 100,000.

Conclusion: Our study provided accurate estimates of the prevalence of DM. The high heterogeneity and the lack of high-quality studies highlight the need to conduct higher quality studies on orphan diseases.

Keywords: Myotonic dystrophy; Myotonic dystrophy type 1; Myotonic dystrophy type 2; Neuromuscular disorder; Prevalence.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Systematic Review
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Myotonic Dystrophy* / epidemiology
  • Myotonic Dystrophy* / genetics
  • Prevalence