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Myocardial and Arrhythmic Spectrum of Neuromuscular Disorders in Children

Neuromuscular disorders (NMDs) are highly heterogenous from both an etiological and clinical point of view. Their signs and symptoms are often multisystemic, with frequent cardiac involvement. In fact, childhood onset forms can predispose a person to various progressive cardiac abnormalities including cardiomyopathies (CMPs), valvulopathies, atrioventricular conduction defects (AVCD), supraventricular tachycardia (SVT) and ventricular arrhythmias (VA). In this review, the authors selected and described five specific NMDs: Friedreich's Ataxia (FRDA), congenital and childhood forms of Myotonic Dystrophy type 1 (DM1), Kearns Sayre Syndrome (KSS), Ryanodine receptor type 1-related myopathies (RYR1-RM) and Laminopathies. These changes are widely investigated in adults but less researched in children. The authors focused on these specific topics due their relative frequency and their potential unexpected cardiac manifestations in children. Moreover these conditions present different inheritance patterns and mechanisms of action. Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophies were not discussed due to extensive work regarding the cardiac aspects in children. For each described NMD, the focus was on the possible cardiac manifestations such as different types of CMPs (dilated-DCM, hypertrophic-HCM, restrictive-RCM or left ventricular non compaction-LVNC), structural heart abnormalities (including valvulopathies), and progressive heart rhythm changes (AVCD, SVT, VA). The current management strategies for these conditions are described. The authors underline the importance, especially for children, of a serial multidisciplinary personalized approach and the need for periodic surveillance by a dedicated heart team. This is largely due to the fact that in children, the diagnosis of certain NMDs might be overlooked and the cardiac aspect can provide signs of their presence even prior to overt neurological diagnosis.

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