An ultrastructural basis for electrocardiographic alterations associated with Duchenne's progressive muscular dystrophy.
Electrocardiographic abnormalities were identified in 63 (84%) of 75 patients with Duchenne's progressive muscular dystrophy. A tall R wave over V1 with an abnormal R/S ratio was seen in 64% of the patients, a deep and narrow Q wave greater than 4 mm over leads I, V5, and V6 in 44%, sinus tachycardia in 32% and right axis deviation in 16%. Other ECG abnormalities included an abnormal PV1 index in 14% of patients and a short P-R interval in 6%. Ultrastructural characteristics of the heart were determined for two patients with characteristic electrocardiographic abnormalities. Common to both hearts was a total loss of thick as well as thin myofilaments, which gave a "moth-eaten" appearance to the myofiber. This feature, combined with preservation of the transverse tubular system, formed the most characteristic ultrastructural finding and was seen most consistently in the posterobasal area of the left ventricle. Alterations of Z-band material; accumulation of mitochondria, occasionally containing electron-dense bodies and showing loss or discontinuity of cristae; dilatation of sarcoplasmic reticulum with striking ectasia of cisternae; depletion of glycogen particles; a paucity of lipoid or lipochrome granules; and the absence of virus-like particles were other consistent ultrastructural features. Comparison of skeletal and cardiac muscle disclosed identical subcellular changes. These observations support the contention that the distinctive ECG pattern associated with Duchenne's dystrophy results from multifocal degenerative changes involving myocardium, predominantly the posterobasal region of the left ventricle and the posterior papillary muscle.
- Copyright © 1978 by American Heart Association