Respiratory dysfunction in myotonic dystrophy type 1: A systematic review



Publication Details

Hawkins, A. M., Hawkins, C. L., Abdul Razak, K., Khoo, T. K., Tran, K. & Jackson, R. V. (2019). Respiratory dysfunction in myotonic dystrophy type 1: A systematic review. Neuromuscular Disorders, 29 (3), 198-212.


Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is one of the most common muscular dystrophies in adults. This review summarises the current literature regarding the natural history of respiratory dysfunction in DM1, the role of central respiratory drive and peripheral respiratory muscle involvement and its significance in respiratory function, and investigates the relationship between genetics (CTG repeat length) and respiratory dysfunction. The review included all articles that reported spirometry on 10 or more myotonic dystrophy patients. The final review included 55 articles between 1964 and 2017. The major conclusions of this review were (1) confirmation of the current consensus that respiratory dysfunction, predominantly a restrictive ventilatory pattern, is common in myotonic dystrophy and is associated with alveolar hypoventilation, chronic hypercapnia, and sleep disturbance in the form of sleep apnoea and sleep related disordered breathing; (2) contrary to commonly held belief, there is no consensus in the literature regarding the relationship between CTG repeat length and severity of respiratory dysfunction and a relationship has not been established; (3) the natural history and time-course of respiratory functional decline is very poorly understood in the current literature; (4) there is a consensus that there is a significant involvement of central respiratory drive in this alveolar hypoventilation however the current literature does not identify the mechanism for this.

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