Background: Chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia (CPEO), which includes Kearns-Sayre syndrome, is a mitochondrial disorder with large deletions of mitochondrial DNA. Recently, mtDNA deletions in cardiac muscle cells were thought to be a cause of dilated cardiomyopathy. However, the cardiac involvement in patients with CPEO is generally considered to be limited to the cardiac conduction system.
Hypothesis: The purpose of this study was to evaluate left ventricular function in patients with CPEO.
Methods: We evaluated the cardiac function of five patients with CPEO by means of carotid pulse recording and Doppler echocardiography.
Results: The ratio of the pre-ejection period to ejection time was increased to 0.67 in one patient and to 0.50 in another. Echocardiography showed left ventricular dilatation and diffuse hypokinetic wall motion in both cases. Left ventricular fractional shortening was decreased to 5 and 19%, respectively, and the mean rate of circumferential shortening was decreased to 0.12 and 0.63 circ/s, respectively. One of the two patient died of congestive heart failure 2 months after the study. The Doppler pattern of left ventricular filling in the three remaining patients showed a decrease in the ratio of peak flow velocity in early diastole to that in late diastole, with an increase in deceleration time.
Conclusion: Although cardiac involvement in patients with CPEO is generally considered to be limited to the cardiac conduction system, left ventricular dysfunction may be present and should receive more attention in the management of patients with CPEO.