Volume 6 (2017) Issue 2 Pages 95-101
Cardiomyopathy associated with dystrophinopathies [Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy (BMD), X-linked dilated cardiomyopathy (XL-dCM) and cardiomyopathy of Duchenne/Becker (DMD/BMD) carriers] is an increasing recognized manifestation of these neuromuscular disorders and notably contributes to their morbidity and mortality. Dystrophinopathic cardiomyopathy (DCM) is the result of the dystrophin protein deficiency at the myocardium level, parallel to the deficiency occurring at the skeletal muscle level. It begins as a "presymptomatic" stage in the first decade of life and evolves in a stepwise manner toward pictures of overt cardiomyopathy (hypertrophic stage, arrhythmogenic stage and dilated cardiomyopathy). The final stage caused by the extensive loss of cardiomyocytes results in an irreversible cardiac failure, characterized by frequent episodes of acute congestive heart failure (CHF), despite a correct pharmacological treatment. The picture of a severe dilated cardiomyopathy with intractable heart failure is typical of BMD, XL-dCM and cardiomyopathy of DMD/BMD carriers, while it is less frequently observed in patients with DMD. Heart transplantation (HT) is the only curative therapy for patients with dystrophinopathic end-stage heart failure who remain symptomatic despite an optimal medical therapy. However, no definitive figures exist in literature concerning the number of patients with DCM transplanted, and their outcome. This overview is to summarize the clinical outcomes so far published on the topic, to report the personal series of dystrophinopathic patients receiving heart transplantation and finally to provide evidence that heart transplantation is a safe and effective treatment for selected patients with end-stage DCM.