Feasibility and Reproducibility of Echocardiographic Measures in Children with Muscular Dystrophies

Christopher F. Spurney, Francis M. McCaffrey, Avital Cnaan, Lauren P. Morgenroth, Sunil J. Ghelani, Heather Gordish-Dressman, Adrienne Arrieta, Anne M. Connolly, Timothy E. Lotze, Craig M. McDonald, Robert T. Leshner, Paula R. Clemens

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40 Scopus citations


Background Cardiac disease is a major cause of death in patients with muscular dystrophies. The use of feasible and reproducible echocardiographic measures of cardiac function is critical to advance the field of therapeutics for dystrophic cardiomyopathy. Methods Participants aged 8 to 18 years with genetically confirmed Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), Becker muscular dystrophy, or limb-girdle muscular dystrophy were enrolled at five centers, and standardized echocardiographic examinations were performed. Measures of systolic and diastolic function and speckle-tracking echocardiography-derived cardiac strain were reviewed independently by two central readers. Furthermore, echocardiographic measures from participants with DMD were compared with those from retrospective age-matched control subjects from a single site to assess measures of myocardial function. Results Forty-eight participants (mean age, 13.3 ± 2.7 years) were enrolled. Shortening fraction had a greater interobserver correlation (intraclass correlation coefficient [ICC] = 0.63) compared with ejection fraction (ICC = 0.49). One reader could measure ejection fraction in only 53% of participants. Myocardial performance index measured by pulse-wave Doppler and Doppler tissue imaging showed similar ICCs (0.55 and 0.54). Speckle-tracking echocardiography showed a high ICC (0.96). Focusing on participants with DMD (n = 33), significantly increased mitral A-wave velocities, lower E/A ratios, and lower Doppler tissue imaging mitral lateral E′ velocities were observed compared with age-matched control subjects. Speckle-tracking echocardiography demonstrated subclinical myocardial dysfunction with decreased average circumferential and longitudinal strain in three distinct subgroups: participants with DMD with normal shortening fractions, participants with DMD aged < 13 years, and participants with DMD with myocardial performance index scores < 0.40 compared with control subjects. Conclusions In a muscular dystrophy cohort, assessment of cardiac function is feasible and reproducible using shortening fraction, diastolic measures, and myocardial performance index. Cardiac strain measures identified early myocardial disease in patients with DMD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)999-1008
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of the American Society of Echocardiography
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2015


  • Cardiac strain
  • Cardiomyopathy
  • Echocardiography
  • Muscular dystrophy


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