Anika Varma, Michael S. Todinca, Katy Eichinger, Susanne Heininger, Nuran Dilek, William Martens, Rabi Tawil, Jeffrey Statland, John T. Kissel, Michael P. McDermott, Chad Heatwole

A longitudinal study of disease progression in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD)

  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Physiology

AbstractIntroduction/AimsIn preparation for clinical trials, it is important to better understand how disease burden changes over time in facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD) and to assess the capability of select metrics to detect these changes. This study aims to evaluate FSHD disease progression over 1 year and to examine the sensitivity of several outcome measures in detecting changes during this interval.MethodsWe conducted a 12‐month prospective observational study of 41 participants with FSHD. Participants were evaluated at baseline, 6 months, and 12 months with serial strength testing (manual muscle testing or MMT and maximum voluntary isometric contraction testing or MVICT), functional testing (FSHD‐Composite Outcome Measure or FSHD‐COM, FSHD Clinical Severity Score or CSS, and FSHD Evaluation Score or FES), sleep and fatigue assessments, lean body mass measurements, respiratory testing, and the FSHD‐Health Index patient‐reported outcome. Changes in these outcome measures were assessed over the 12‐month period. Associations between changes in outcome measures and both age and sex were also examined.ResultsIn a 12‐month period, FSHD participant function remained largely stable with a mild worsening of strength, measured by MMT and standardized MVICT scores, and a mild loss in lean body mass.DiscussionThe abilities and disease burden of adults with FSHD are largely static over a 12‐month period with participants demonstrating a mild average reduction in some measures of strength. Selection of patients, outcome measures, and trial duration should be carefully considered during the design and implementation of future clinical studies involving FSHD patients.

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