Cardiac management

Looking after the heart

The aim of cardiac management in DMD is early detection and treatment of the deterioration of heart muscle function (usually cardiomyopathy - involvement of heart muscle, or rhythm problems leading, for example, to palpitations) that commonly accompanies the overall progression of the disease. As this often happens silently (that is without the development of significant symptoms) it needs to be looked out for so it can be treated promptly. The key factors to consider in cardiac management are surveillance and proactive management. You need to be sure that there is a cardiologist involved with the care team.

Important facts to remember

  1. Your son’s heart should be checked regularly starting from the time he is diagnosed.
  2. In DMD the heart may be already damaged before symptoms appear.
  3. This means that your son may need to start heart medication even if he does not have symptoms of heart problems.
  4. It is good to pick up silent problems so that they can be treated promptly.
  5. Keep a copy of your son’s latest heart tests to show any other doctor who may see your son.

Information based on consensus statement (published in January 2010)