INTRODUCTION: Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is an X-linked genetic disorder that causes progressive skeletal and cardiac muscle weakness in boys. Cardiac dysfunction is a frequent cause of death in DMD. Glucocorticoids are the standard of care in DMD. The long-term use of oral glucocorticoids in DMD is complicated by poor bone health. Epidemiological studies suggest a biological link between the loss of bone mineral density (BMD) and cardiovascular disease, including coronary artery and cerebrovascular diseases. Whether an association between low BMD and cardiac dysfunction occurs in DMD boys has not yet been studied. The objective of this retrospective cohort study was to examine the relationship between BMD and cardiovascular health in DMD.
METHODS: Retrospective data analyses was performed from de-identified medical records from a tertiary academic medical center. Whole body BMD was measured using dual-energy xray absorptiometry (DEXA) scan and left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) was measured using echocardiogram. Linear regression was used to evaluate the relationship between BMD and LVEF.
RESULTS: Data was analyzed from a total of 32 boys with DMD. The mean age at which baseline BMD measurements was obtained of 11±3 (SD) years. The worst LVEF was measured at a mean of 23.7±21.8 (SD) months after the baseline BMD measurement. The final adjusted linear regression of the relationship between baseline BMD z-score and worst LVEF was not statistically significant (ß=0.41, p‑value=0.6455).
DISCUSSION: In this cohort of boys with DMD, BMD was not associated with LVEF dysfunction up to 79 months later. Future research with a longer longitudinal follow-up period is warranted to evaluate the relationship between BMD and cardiovascular disease in DMD.