Survey finds that 25% of women are unaware of their Duchenne/Becker muscular dystrophy carrier status

This study aimed to survey female carriers for Duchenne and Becker muscular dystrophy to identify barriers to carrier testing and the impact of carrier risk knowledge on cardiac and reproductive health management. Women who have or had biological sons with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy were surveyed and enrolled in the US DuchenneConnect patient registry, with questions assessing knowledge of carrier status and recurrence risk, knowledge of care standards for carriers, and barriers to testing. Of the 182 eligible respondents, 25% did not know their carrier status and 14% incorrectly classified themselves as not at risk. Cost of testing was the most commonly identified barrier to testing. Women reporting unknown carrier status were 13 times as likely to express uncertainty regarding their recurrence risk compared to women reporting positive carrier status. 37% of women at an increased risk for cardiomyopathy had never had an echocardiogram. Women who were certain of their positive carrier status were twice as likely to have had an echocardiogram in the last five years compared to women with unknown carrier status. Future research on reducing barriers to counselling and carrier testing, such as cost, may improve care standard adherence.

Bogue L, Peay H, Martin A, Lucas A, Ramchandren S. Knowledge of carrier status and barriers to testing among mothers of sons with Duchenne or Becker muscular dystrophy. Neuromuscul Disord. 2016 Dec;26(12):860-864.