Academic Editors: Yoshiaki Kaneko and Petr Ostadal
Myotonic dystrophy is an autosomal dominant genetic disease of nucleotide expansion resulting in neuromuscular disease with two distinct subtypes. There are significant systemic manifestations of this condition including progressive muscular decline, neurologic abnormalities, and cardiac disease. Given the higher prevalence of cardiac dysfunction compared to the general population, there is significant interest in early diagnosis and prevention of cardiac morbidity and mortality. Cardiac dysfunction has an origin in abnormal and unstable nucleotide repeats in the DMPK and CNBP genes which have downstream effects leading to an increased propensity for arrhythmias and left ventricular systolic dysfunction. Current screening paradigms involve the use of routine screening electrocardiograms, ambulatory electrocardiographic monitors, and cardiac imaging to stratify risk and suggest further invasive evaluation. The most common cardiac abnormality is atrial arrhythmia, however there is significant mortality in this population from high-degree atrioventricular block and ventricular arrhythmia. In this review, we describe the cardiac manifestations of myotonic dystrophy with an emphasis on arrhythmia which is the second most common cause of death in this population after respiratory failure.