Author + information
- Claudia Stöllberger, MD⁎ ( and )
- Josef Finsterer, MD
- ↵⁎Krankenanstalt Rudolfstiftung, 2. Med. Abteilung, Steingasse 31/18, A-1030 Vienna, Austria
With interest we read the study by Duboc et al. (1) about 57 children with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) >55%. Duboc et al. (1) conclude that early treatment with perindopril over 60 months delays both the onset and progression of systolic dysfunction. The study raises the following concerns:
First, how to explain that within the first 36 months only one patient in each group developed systolic dysfunction, whereas within the following 24 months eight patients of group 2 (the group that received placebo during the first 36 months) deteriorated? If the deterioration after 60 months was due to not taking perindopril during the first 36 months, why did this effect not become evident earlier? Assuming that perindopril had an effect in preventing the development of systolic dysfunction in group 1 patients (the group that received perindopril during the first 36 months), it remains unclear whether this was really a drug effect, selection bias, or whether these patients were less severely affected when included.
Second, did the eight patients in group 2 with LVEF <45% after 60 months have a lower baseline LVEF than the remaining patients? How do the investigators know that it was the lack of perindopril that led to a decrease in systolic function in these patients? How could it be excluded that this was not the natural course? To claim a positive effect of perindopril in patients with normal systolic function it is not justified to claim a prophylactic effect of the drug despite a nonsignificant difference in mean values of LVEF after 60 months. How then to explain the improvement of LVEF after 36 months in two group 2 patients?
Third, because LVEF decreased under angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor therapy in eight patients below 45% and the mean remained unchanged, there must have been some patients in whom LVEF has improved. How do the investigators explain that the drug given during 24 months improved LVEF in group 2 patients?
Fourth, cardiac function was assessed by resting radionuclide ventriculography. As most of the DMD patients develop thoracospinal deformities from age 10 on, the accuracy of scintigraphy is limited (2). Why was no other method, like echocardiography, applied that would yield additional information about cardiac size and diastolic function?
Fifth, what was the rationale to give an ACE inhibitor in patients with normal systolic function? Why was the choice perindopril, an ACE inhibitor not previously tested in muscular dystrophy patients (3,4)?
Moreover, information is lacking about the exact neurological severity of the patients, especially how rapidly neurologic symptoms deteriorated, and whether respiratory function changed. How many patients had or developed rhythm abnormalities? Did the heart rate increase during follow-up, and was increased heart rate associated with a decrease of LVEF in any of the patients, suggesting tachycardiomyopathy (5)? How to explain that 17 patients developed side effects during placebo therapy? From which drug?
Finally, based on the presented data, it is not justified to propose perindopril as a prophylactic medication in DMD. To assess left ventricular function accurately in DMD patients, the application of at least echocardiography is mandatory (4).
- American College of Cardiology Foundation
- Duboc D.,
- Meune C.,
- Lerebours G.,
- Devaux J.Y.,
- Vaksmann G.,
- Becane H.M.
- Chambers J.W.,
- duCret R.P.,
- Bowers T.R.,
- Engeler C.E.,
- Bache R.J.,
- Haidet G.C.
- Walker N.L.,
- Cobbe S.M.,
- Birnie D.H.