Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy Type 1 is associated with a high risk of malignant ventricular arrhythmias and end-stage heart failure

Eur Heart J. 2023 Dec 21;44(48):5064-5073. doi: 10.1093/eurheartj/ehad561.


Background and aims: Emery-Dreifuss muscular dystrophy (EDMD) is caused by variants in EMD (EDMD1) and LMNA (EDMD2). Cardiac conduction defects and atrial arrhythmia are common to both, but LMNA variants also cause end-stage heart failure (ESHF) and malignant ventricular arrhythmia (MVA). This study aimed to better characterize the cardiac complications of EMD variants.

Methods: Consecutively referred EMD variant-carriers were retrospectively recruited from 12 international cardiomyopathy units. MVA and ESHF incidences in male and female variant-carriers were determined. Male EMD variant-carriers with a cardiac phenotype at baseline (EMDCARDIAC) were compared with consecutively recruited male LMNA variant-carriers with a cardiac phenotype at baseline (LMNACARDIAC).

Results: Longitudinal follow-up data were available for 38 male and 21 female EMD variant-carriers [mean (SD) ages 33.4 (13.3) and 43.3 (16.8) years, respectively]. Nine (23.7%) males developed MVA and five (13.2%) developed ESHF during a median (inter-quartile range) follow-up of 65.0 (24.3-109.5) months. No female EMD variant-carrier had MVA or ESHF, but nine (42.8%) developed a cardiac phenotype at a median (inter-quartile range) age of 58.6 (53.2-60.4) years. Incidence rates for MVA were similar for EMDCARDIAC and LMNACARDIAC (4.8 and 6.6 per 100 person-years, respectively; log-rank P = .49). Incidence rates for ESHF were 2.4 and 5.9 per 100 person-years for EMDCARDIAC and LMNACARDIAC, respectively (log-rank P = .09).

Conclusions: Male EMD variant-carriers have a risk of progressive heart failure and ventricular arrhythmias similar to that of male LMNA variant-carriers. Early implantable cardioverter defibrillator implantation and heart failure drug therapy should be considered in male EMD variant-carriers with cardiac disease.

Keywords: Cardiomyopathy; Emerin; Emery–Dreifuss muscular dystrophy; Heart failure; Sudden death; Ventricular arrhythmia.

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / complications
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / epidemiology
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / genetics
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases* / complications
  • Heart Failure* / complications
  • Heart Failure* / etiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss* / complications
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss* / genetics
  • Muscular Dystrophy, Emery-Dreifuss* / pathology
  • Mutation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • X-Linked Emery-Dreifuss Muscular Dystrophy* / complications