Care Recommendations for the Investigation and Management of Children With Skeletal Muscle Channelopathies.
Matthews E., Palace J., Ramdas S., Sansone V., Tristani-Firouzi M., Vicart S., Willis T.
The field of pediatric skeletal muscle channelopathies has seen major new advances in terms of a wider understanding of clinical presentations and new phenotypes. Skeletal muscle channelopathies cause significant disability and even death in some of the newly described phenotypes. Despite this, there are virtually no data on the epidemiology and longitudinal natural history of these conditions or randomized controlled trial evidence of efficacy or tolerability of any treatment in children, and thus best practice care recommendations do not exist. Clinical history, and to a lesser extent examination, is key to eliciting symptoms and signs that indicate a differential diagnosis of muscle channelopathy. Normal routine investigations should not deter one from the diagnosis. Specialist neurophysiologic investigations have an additional role, but their availability should not delay genetic testing. New phenotypes are increasingly likely to be identified by next-generation sequencing panels. Many treatments or interventions for symptomatic patients are available, with anecdotal data to support their benefit, but we lack trial data on efficacy, safety, or superiority. This lack of trial data in turn can lead to hesitancy in prescribing among doctors or in accepting medication by parents. Holistic management addressing work, education, activity, and additional symptoms of pain and fatigue provides significant benefit. Preventable morbidity and sometimes mortality occurs if the diagnosis and therefore treatment is delayed. Advances in genetic sequencing technology and greater access to testing may help to refine recently identified phenotypes, including histology, as more cases are described. Randomized controlled treatment trials are required to inform best practice care recommendations. A holistic approach to management is essential and should not be overlooked. Good quality data on prevalence, health burden, and optimal treatment are urgently needed.