Cardiomyopathy in motor neuron diseases

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Myocardial involvement in motor neuron diseases (MND) is an uncommon feature. In amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system affecting cardiac function have been described, for the hereditary spastic paraplegias (HSP) comparable manifestations are unknown. This study observed ALS and HSP patients with coexisting cardiomyopathy without major cardial risk factors.


Four patients with definite ALS and two pHSP patients. In all patients detailed clinical, cardiological, electrophysiological and laboratory data were analysed. In two ALS patients skeletal muscle biopsy was performed.


In all investigated MND patients cardiomyopathy was present. Beside hyperlipoproteinaemia and mild hypertension in one case, none of the patients showed major cardiovascular risk factors. There was no evidence for a secondary cause of cardiomyopathy like coronary heart disease, myocarditis, or mitochondrial damage mimicking MND.


This report could not conclude that the occurrence of cardiomyopathy is rare logically. Although an underlying pathophysiological cause was not obvious, it is proposed that in all MND patients a routine cardiological evaluation should be performed.

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