Background: In Pompe disease, an inherited metabolic muscle disorder, severe diaphragmatic weakness often occurs. Enzyme replacement treatment is relatively ineffective for respiratory function, possibly because of irreversible damage to the diaphragm early in the disease course. Mildly impaired diaphragmatic function may not be recognized by spirometry, which is commonly used to study respiratory function. In this cross-sectional study, we aimed to identify early signs of diaphragmatic weakness in Pompe patients using chest MRI. Methods: Pompe patients covering the spectrum of disease severity, and sex and age matched healthy controls were prospectively included and studied using spirometry-controlled sagittal MR images of both mid-hemidiaphragms during forced inspiration. The motions of the diaphragm and thoracic wall were evaluated by measuring thoracic cranial-caudal and anterior–posterior distance ratios between inspiration and expiration. The diaphragm shape was evaluated by measuring the height of the diaphragm curvature. We used multiple linear regression analysis to compare different groups. Results: We included 22 Pompe patients with decreased spirometry results (forced vital capacity in supine position < 80% predicted); 13 Pompe patients with normal spirometry results (forced vital capacity in supine position ≥ 80% predicted) and 18 healthy controls. The mean cranial-caudal ratio was only 1.32 in patients with decreased spirometry results, 1.60 in patients with normal spirometry results and 1.72 in healthy controls (p < 0.001). Anterior–posterior ratios showed no significant differences. The mean height ratios of the diaphragm curvature were 1.41 in patients with decreased spirometry results, 1.08 in patients with normal spirometry results and 0.82 in healthy controls (p = 0.001), indicating an increased curvature of the diaphragm during inspiration in Pompe patients. Conclusions: Even in early-stage Pompe disease, when spirometry results are still within normal range, the motion of the diaphragm is already reduced and the shape is more curved during inspiration. MRI can be used to detect early signs of diaphragmatic weakness in patients with Pompe disease, which might help to select patients for early intervention to prevent possible irreversible damage to the diaphragm.

Diaphragm, Lysosomal storage disease, MRI, Neuromuscular disease, Pompe disease, Respiratory function
dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13023-020-01627-x, hdl.handle.net/1765/133193
Orphanet journal of rare diseases
Department of Neurology

Harlaar, L, Ciet, P, van Tulder, G, Pittaro, A. (Alice), Van Kooten, H, van der Beek, N.A.M.E, … van Doorn, P.A. (2021). Chest MRI to diagnose early diaphragmatic weakness in Pompe disease. Orphanet journal of rare diseases, 16(1). doi:10.1186/s13023-020-01627-x