Presse Med 2011 Jul-Aug;40(7-8):748-53. Epub 2011 May 5.
Université François-Rabelais, CHU de Tours, hôpital Trousseau, 37044 Tours, France.
Myotonic dystrophy is the most frequent adult form of hereditary muscular dystrophy caused by a mutation on the DMPK gene. Myotonic dystrophy leads to multiple systemic complications related to weakness, respiratory failure, cardiac arrhythmias and cardiac conduction disturbances. Age of death is earlier in myotonic dystrophy patients than in general population with a high frequency of sudden death. Several mechanisms are involved in sudden death: atrio-ventricular block, severe ventricular arrhythmias or non-cardiac mechanism. The high degree of atrio-ventricular block is a well-recognized indication of pacemaker implantation but the prophylactic implantation of pacemaker should be considered to prevent sudden death in asymptomatic myotonic dystrophy patients. A careful clinical evaluation needs to be done for the identification of patients at high risk of sudden death. The resting ECG and SA ECG are non-invasive tools useful to select the patients who need an electrophysiologic study. In presence of prolonged HV interval more than or equal to 70 ms one can discuss the implantation of a prophylactic pacemaker. The choice of an implantable cardiac defibrillator is preferred in presence of spontaneous ventricular tachycardia or an alteration of the left ventricular ejection fraction.