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June 1989

Cardiac Transplantation in a Patient With Muscular Dystrophy and Cardiomyopathy

Author Affiliations

From the Departments of Neurology (Dr Donofrio), Pathology (Dr Challa), Cardiology (Dr Hackshaw), and Surgery (Drs Mills and Cordell), Wake Forest University, The Bowman Gray School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC.

Arch Neurol. 1989;46(6):705-707. doi:10.1001/archneur.1989.00520420127038

• A 17-year-old boy with muscular dystrophy developed a cardiomyopathy. His brother died of a cardiomyopathy, and muscle enzyme levels were elevated in asymptomatic family members. Examination revealed cardiomegaly, hepatomegaly, proximal muscle atrophy and weakness, and calf hypertrophy. Skeletal muscle and endomyocardial biopsy specimens were consistent with Becker's muscular dystrophy. Because of intractable heart failure, orthotopic cardiac transplantation was performed. Two years after transplantation, the patient has returned to work and regained previous exercise tolerance. Heart transplantation can be an acceptable treatment of patients who have muscular dystrophy, with preserved ambulation and favorable life expectancy, and also life-threatening cardiomyopathy refractory to medical management.

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