Current care practices for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in China

Brain Dev. 2022 Oct;44(9):623-629. doi: 10.1016/j.braindev.2022.05.007. Epub 2022 Jun 9.


Background: The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has presented challenges in the care of patients with chronic diseases. We identified the challenges faced by Chinese patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) during the pandemic.

Methods: An online cross-sectional survey was conducted between March 27 and June 30, 2021.

Results: Of the 2105 valid questionnaire responses, 2,056 patients were from non-lockdown areas. In these areas, 42.8% reduced outside daily activities, 49.4% reduced rehabilitation service use, 39.7% postponed regular follow-ups, and 40.8% reported accelerated motor function decline. These figures generally increased for patients from lockdown areas-67.3% reduced outside daily activities, 44.9% reduced rehabilitation service use, 79.6% postponed regular follow-ups, and 55.1% reported accelerated motor function decline. Ambulation loss was most commonly reported in September and March before 2020; however, this trend was absent in 2020. Regarding the informed prices of disease-modifying drugs in Europe and the United States, 86.7% could afford a maximum of one-twentieth of the prices, 8.0% could afford one-tenth of the prices, and only 0.6% of the patients could afford the full prices.

Conclusions: Implementation of standardized care for DMD in China is consistent with global practices, and the COVID-19 pandemic has affected the care of patients with chronic diseases worldwide, particularly in lockdown areas. Telemedicine is an effective model for providing healthcare to such patients. Healthcare workers should assist patients and establish more robust chronic disease management systems. Collaboration between governmental and non-governmental entities could address the cost of disease-modifying drugs in China and other developing countries.

Keywords: COVID-19; Care considerations; Disease-modifying treatment; Duchenne muscular dystrophy; Public health emergency.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Communicable Disease Control
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne* / epidemiology
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Duchenne* / therapy
  • Pandemics
  • United States