Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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Year : 2022  |  Volume : 65  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 277-290

Approach to the diagnosis of metabolic myopathies

1 Department of Neurology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India
2 Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Gayathri Narayanappa
Department of Neuropathology, National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijpm.ijpm_1088_21

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Metabolic myopathies are a diverse group of genetic disorders that result in impaired energy production. They are individually rare and several have received the 'orphan disorder' status. However, collectively they constitute a relatively common group of disorders that affect not only the skeletal muscle but also the heart, liver, and brain among others. Mitochondrial disorders, with a frequency of 1/8000 population, are the commonest cause of metabolic myopathies. Three main groups that cause metabolic myopathy are glycogen storage disorders (GSD), fatty acid oxidation defects (FAOD), and mitochondrial myopathies. Clinically, patients present with varied ages at onset and neuromuscular features. While newborns and infants typically present with hypotonia and multisystem involvement chiefly affecting the liver, heart, kidney, and brain, patients with onset later in life present with exercise intolerance with or without progressive muscle weakness and myoglobinuria. In general, GSDs result in high-intensity exercise intolerance while, FAODs, and mitochondrial myopathies predominantly manifest during endurance-type activity, fasting, or metabolically stressful conditions. Evaluation of these patients comprises a meticulous clinical examination and a battery of investigations which includes- exercise stress testing, metabolic and biochemical screening, electrophysiological studies, neuro-imaging, muscle biopsy, and molecular genetics. Accurate and early detection of metabolic myopathies allows timely counseling to prevent metabolic crises and helps in therapeutic interventions. This review summarizes the clinical features, diagnostic tests, pathological features, treatment and presents an algorithm to diagnose these three main groups of disorders.

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