Friedreich Ataxia (FRDA) is an autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disorder most commonly caused by guanine-adenine-adenine (GAA) trinucleotide repeat expansions in both alleles of the FXN gene. Although progressive ataxia remains the hallmark clinical feature, patients with FRDA are at high risk of developing cardiomyopathy, often resulting in premature death. There is no specific treatment for FRDA-associated cardiomyopathy; even in advanced cardiac failure cardiac transplantation is not commonly pursued. This case series describes extended follow-up of three FRDA cases with end-stage heart failure but mild neurologic disease who underwent successful heart transplantation. We also review and examine the ethical considerations for heart transplantation in the setting of neurodegenerative disease.
McCormick, A., Shinnick, J., Schadt, K., Rodriguez, R., Addonizio, L., Hirano, M., … Lynch, D. R. (2017). Cardiac transplantation in Friedreich Ataxia: Extended follow-up. Journal of the Neurological Sciences, 375, 471–473. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jns.2017.01.027