Objective To investigate cardiac function in patients with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS) and clarify the clinical features of cardiomyopathy in MELAS.
Patients 11 consecutive patients with MELAS (mean age at initial examination 11.3 years, range 4 to 16 years) were enrolled in the study. Six were followed for more than five years.
Results On echocardiographic examination, three patients showed increased left ventricular end diastolic posterior wall thickness (LVPWTd), exceeding 140% of the normal value. Four patients, including these three, had an ejection fraction of less than 50%, and two also had increased left ventricular end diastolic volume (LVEDV) exceeding 140% of the normal value (%N). The LVPWTd%N was correlated positively with the LVEDV%N (R = 0.669, p < 0.05) and negatively with the ejection fraction (R = −0.6701, p < 0.05). One patient died of heart failure aged 22 years.
Conclusions The cardiomyopathy in MELAS is characterised by an abnormally thick left ventricular wall with progressive dilatation and poor left ventricular contraction developing over several years, indicating hypertrophic cardiomyopathy advancing to dilated cardiomyopathy.
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