Duchenne muscular dystrophy is associated with an increased risk of bone fragility due to the adverse effects of prolonged glucocorticoid therapy and progressive muscle weakness on bone strength. Osteoporosis manifests clinically as low-trauma long-bone and vertebral fractures (VFs), with VFs frequent, particularly in those treated with glucocorticoid therapy. It is increasingly recognized that bone pain, medical complications of osteoporosis (such as fat embolism syndrome), and the potential for permanent, fracture-induced loss of ambulation can be mitigated with timely bone health surveillance and management. This includes periodic spine radiographs for VF detection because VFs can be asymptomatic in their early phases and thereby go undetected in the absence of monitoring. With this article, we provide a comprehensive review of the following 4 phases of bone health management: (1) bone health monitoring, which is used to identify early signs of compromised bone health; (2) osteoporosis stabilization, which is aimed to mitigate back pain and interrupt the fracture–refracture cycle through bone-targeted therapy; (3) bone health maintenance, which has the goal to preserve the clinical gains realized during the stabilization phase through ongoing bone-targeted therapy; and (4) osteoporosis therapy discontinuation, which places those who are eligible for discontinuation of osteoporosis treatment back on a health monitoring program. In the course of reviewing these 4 phases of management, we will discuss the criteria for diagnosing osteoporosis, along with detailed recommendations for osteoporosis intervention including specific drugs, dose, length of therapy, contraindications, and monitoring of treatment efficacy and safety.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is associated with an increased risk of endocrine complications due to the effects of prolonged glucocorticoid therapy as well as progressive muscle weakness. Categories of complications include obesity and its comorbidities, short stature, pubertal delay, and adrenal insufficiency. Obesity prevention is important for long-term management of patients with DMD. Preventing glucocorticoid-induced weight gain fosters patient mobility, ease of transfer, and reduces sleep-disordered breathing. Metabolic complications from obesity (glucose intolerance, dyslipidemia) also can be avoided. Short stature and pubertal delay may negatively affect self-esteem and peer relationships, and careful monitoring of growth and pubertal development can allow anticipatory counseling. Adrenal insufficiency, a potentially life-threatening complication associated with prolonged glucocorticoid use, must be recognized so as to allow prompt treatment. In this article, we provide a summary of current guidance to ensure comprehensive endocrine management is followed in patients with DMD.
Advances in treatment and multidisciplinary management have resulted in improved survival of individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). Updated DMD treatment recommendations as found in the 2018 DMD Care Considerations are aimed to assist multidisciplinary care teams in providing standardized care to their patients, including attention to nutritional and gastrointestinal health. Challenges remain for care teams in accurately estimating height and nutritional status for individuals with DMD. It can be difficult for patients to maintain a healthy weight. Risk factors for obesity include glucocorticoid therapy and loss of ambulation. In contrast, in the later stages of the disease, swallowing dysfunction can lead to poor nutrition and consideration for gastrostomy tube placement. Constipation is highly prevalent, underrecognized, and undertreated in DMD. With this article, we address the assessment and management of gastrointestinal and nutritional issues, as well as clinical controversies.
In 2010, Care Considerations for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was published in Lancet Neurology, and in 2018, these guidelines were updated. Since the publication of the first set of guidelines, survival of individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy has increased. With contemporary medical management, survival often extends into the fourth decade of life and beyond. Effective transition of respiratory care from pediatric to adult medicine is vital to optimize patient safety, prognosis, and quality of life. With genetic and other emerging drug therapies in development, standardization of care is necessary to accurately assess treatment effects in clinical trials. This revision of respiratory recommendations preserves a fundamental strength of the original guidelines: namely, reliance on a limited number of respiratory tests to guide patient assessment and management. A progressive therapeutic strategy is presented that includes lung volume recruitment, assisted coughing, and assisted ventilation (initially nocturnally, with the subsequent addition of daytime ventilation for progressive respiratory failure). This revision also stresses the need for serial monitoring of respiratory muscle strength to characterize an individual’s respiratory phenotype of severity as well as provide baseline assessments for clinical trials. Clinical controversies and emerging areas are included.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) results in a progressive cardiomyopathy that produces significant morbidity and mortality. To improve the quality of life in patients with DMD, cardiac care is focused on surveillance and management, with the goal of slowing the onset and progression of heart failure complications. The current article is intended to be an expanded review on the cardiac management data used to inform the 2018 DMD Care Considerations recommendations as well as be a discussion on clinical controversies and future management directions. The new cardiac guidance includes changes regarding noninvasive imaging surveillance of cardiac function and pharmacologic therapy. Many emerging therapies lack sufficient evidence-based data to be recommended in the 2018 DMD Care Considerations. These are discussed in the present article as clinical controversies and future directions. Important emerging therapies include new heart failure medications, mechanical circulatory support with ventricular assist devices, heart transplantation, and internal cardiac defibrillators. Future research studies should be focused on the risks and benefits of these advanced therapies in patients with DMD. We conclude this review with a brief discussion on the relationship between the heart and the recently developed medications that are used to directly target the absence of dystrophin in DMD.
Orthopedic care is an important aspect of the overall management of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). In addition to progressive muscle weakness and loss of function, patients may develop joint contractures, scoliosis, and osteoporosis, causing fractures; all of these necessitate intervention by a multidisciplinary team including an orthopedic surgeon as well as rehabilitation specialists such as physio- and occupational therapists. The causes of these musculoskeletal complications are multifactorial and are related to primary effects on the muscles from the disease itself, secondary effects from weak muscles, and the related side effects of treatments, such as glucocorticoid use that affect bone strength. The musculoskeletal manifestations of DMD change over time as the disease progresses, and therefore, musculoskeletal management needs change throughout the life span of an individual with DMD. In this review, we target pediatricians, neurologists, orthopedic surgeons, rehabilitation physicians, anesthesiologists, and other individuals involved in the management of patients with DMD by providing specific recommendations to guide clinical practice related to orthopedic issues and surgical management in this setting.
Primary care providers (PCPs) are usually the first point of contact with the health care system for patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), and patients often present to emergency departments in which providers have little experience in dealing with this condition. With this article, we give primary care and emergency medicine providers a background in the common issues that affect people with DMD. By acquiring some specialized knowledge about the multisystem medical complications of DMD and by applying general principles of primary care, such as timely immunization, anticipatory safety counseling, behavioral screening, and routine nutritional and developmental assessments, the PCP can be a valued and effective medical provider to patients with DMD. The PCP can provide access to and effective coordination among the patient’s specialty caregivers. Moreover, the PCP can become a trusted advisor to the patient and his family about important medical decisions, as well as issues in the psychosocial, behavioral, and educational domains. This article also contains a "pocket guide" used to assess and manage common urgent medical problems that cause patients with DMD to seek care in the emergency department. With the background information discussed in this article, both PCPs and emergency medicine physicians can skillfully care for patients with DMD in their respective settings, optimizing patient outcomes.
In this article, we outline a comprehensive plan for the psychosocial management of patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) across the life span. In 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention sponsored the development of multidisciplinary management guidance for DMD, and in 2018, that guidance was updated. In the intervening years, a new emphasis was placed on studying and addressing the psychosocial issues that affect patients with DMD, driven in part by improved patient survival. Once viewed as ancillary to managing the significant medical needs of patients with DMD, it is now standard practice to integrate psychosocial management into the multidisciplinary management of the disease. It is also increasingly recognized that neurodevelopmental disorders in DMD occur at a higher rate than what was previously understood and that these disorders warrant early and intensive intervention. In this article, we expand on the content found in the 2018 DMD Care Considerations.
The care of individuals with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) now extends into adulthood. Childhood to adulthood transition planning is an important aspect of care, affecting health outcomes as well as other important aspects of adult life. In this article, we address transition planning as it relates to DMD health care, education, steps toward vocations, personal care, accessing the home and community, and the importance of relationships with others. Because of the complex, disabling, and progressive nature of DMD, coordinated, well-timed planning is critical to ensure that all components of transition are accomplished. In this article, we introduce the DMD Transition Toolkit. The toolkit is designed to help assess readiness for transition, track progress toward transition goals, and provide a template for documenting key elements of medical care, medical equipment, and services. The transition readiness assessment for young adults with DMD is used to gauge readiness for adult health care and living practices. Consistent with the 2018 DMD Care Considerations, the transition checklist for young adults with DMD is a comprehensive list to be considered, discussed, and planned for during transition. The medical summary for young adults with DMD can be used by a provider or individuals with DMD to communicate details of their health plan, provider contacts, and medical equipment needs. It can be used in transition handoffs, when adding new providers, or when informing new nursing agencies or personal care attendants. It could also be useful in urgent care settings by providing baseline information about the individual with DMD.
Care Considerations for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy were published in 2010. However, little is known about the extent to which these considerations were implemented after publication. With this article, we provide direction on evaluating the uptake of the 2018 Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Care Considerations. We identify key elements of care and present suggestions for their use in evaluation and research.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the most common form of childhood muscular dystrophy. A mutation in the DMD gene disrupts dystrophin (protein) production, causing damage to muscle integrity, weakness, loss of ambulation, and cardiopulmonary compromise by the second decade of life. Life expectancy has improved from mid-teenage years to mid-20s with the use of glucocorticoids and beyond the third decade with ventilator support and multidisciplinary care. However, Duchenne muscular dystrophy is associated with comorbidities and is a fatal disease. Glucocorticoids prolong ambulation, but their side effects are significant. Emerging investigational therapies have surfaced over the past decade and have rapidly been tested in clinical trials. Gene-specific strategies include nonsense readthrough, exon skipping, gene editing, utrophin modulation, and gene replacement. Other mechanisms include muscle regeneration, antioxidants, and antifibrosis and anti-inflammatory pathways. With potential therapies emerging, early diagnosis is needed to initiate treatment early enough to minimize morbidity and mortality. Newborn screening can be used to significantly improve early diagnosis, especially for gene-specific therapeutics.
Steadily improving management of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) continues to lead to improved physical and functional status, allowing increasingly successful transitions to independence and self-actualization in adulthood. Rehabilitation principles remain key to overall management for individuals with DMD with increasing options for ever more successful management, reflecting a changing natural history based on the use of glucocorticoids, more consistent comprehensive care, and the emergence of disease-modifying treatments. Advances and expansion in assessment, cardiorespiratory management, preventive management of contracture and deformity, assistive technology, "smart" technology, and robotics with increased emphasis on function, participation, self-advocacy, and independence in decision-making should allow individuals with DMD to experience childhood and transition to adulthood with support that allows for increasing success in the achievement of individual goals and fulfillment across the life span.