Neuromuscular Cardiology

  • Two Exceptional Disciplines Working for Your Child

    The Heart Institute at Cincinnati Children’s provides advanced treatment interventions for patients with heart problems related to muscular dystrophy and the female carriers of the disease. Working in collaboration with the Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center, our Advanced Cardiomyopathy and Heart Failure care team attracts patients from all over the world for evaluation and treatment, making us one of the largest and most distinguished international programs treating Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    Why Choose Us

    Clinic co-director, Jeffrey Towbin, MD, co-authored the initial genetic descriptions of the gene that encodes for dystrophin, the absence of which damages muscle cells and progresses to weakness in the heart and lungs of Duchenne patients. 

    Today, cardiologists at the Heart Institute are recognized experts in advanced cardiomyopathy and heart failure, presenting and publishing the latest standards of cardiomyopathy care and research, including all forms of muscular dystrophy.

    Treatment Approach

    We work collaboratively with the Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center to ensure that patient care is coordinated among our leading specialists, including cardiology, neuromuscular, pulmonology, and orthopaedics.

    Vital for muscular dystrophy patients is our integrated heart and lung approach, ensuring that multiple system organs are treated in tandem in order to delay heart and lung failure. Our pulmonologists and cardiologists meet with the patient at the same time, ensuring consistency across disciplines. 

    It is our goal to keep the native heart as long as possible. Our patients have access to current adult treatment strategies, including adult heart medications.  

    Additionally, we continue to see patients over 18 to ensure continuity of care as patients age from youth to adulthood. 

    Genetic testing is also conducted on female carriers of the sometimes genetic disorder and the rest of the family. One third of the female genetic carriers will develop heart problems, many of whom do not know they are at risk. 

    Recognition

    In 2014, we were ranked No. 9 in heart care and surgery by U.S. News & World Report, making us one of the only neuromuscular centers with a top ranking.

    Conditions Treated

    Muscular dystrophy impacts all muscles in the body, including the heart.

    Treatment of pulmonary complications has improved survival; however, cardiomyopathy has emerged as the leading cause of death, typically by the third decade.

    Four of the more common types of muscular dystrophy to affect the heart include Duchenne, Becker, limb-girdle and some types of congenital muscular dystrophy. As the disease progresses, life-threatening heart and respiratory issues are common. 

    We treat all associated heart problems related to Duchenne and other muscular dystrophies: 

    • Dilated cardiomyopathy
    • Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
    • Electrical abnormalities
    • Tachycardia, bradycardia and dysrhythmia 
 
 
  • Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center

    Learn more about the Comprehensive Neuromuscular Center at Cincinnati Children's.

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  • Cardiology

    Learn what makes the Heart Institute an international leader in clinical cardiology care and research.

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  • Brody's Story

    Listen to Erica "Ric" Muskopf as she describes her hope for a treatment that will help her son, Brody, who as born with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

    • Watch Drs. Towbin and Jefferies Live Chat exploring preventative and therapeutic strategies for delaying cardiomyopathy related to muscular dystrophy.

  • First-in-Nation Implant

    Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute implants what is believed to be the first-in-nation left ventricular assist device in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy patient. Learn more.
  • Among the Best

    2014-cardiology
    Our cardiology and heart surgery program is ranked among the best in the country by U.S. News & World Report.> Awards and Rankings