Objectives: To evaluate changes in diaphragmatic function in Pompe disease using MRI over time, both during natural disease course and during treatment with enzyme replacement therapy (ERT). Methods: In this prospective study, 30 adult Pompe patients and 10 healthy controls underwent pulmonary function tests and spirometry-controlled MRI twice, with an interval of 1 year. In the sagittal view of 3D gradient echo breath-hold acquisitions, diaphragmatic motion (cranial-caudal ratio between end-inspiration and end-expiration) and curvature (diaphragm height and area ratio) were calculated using a machine learning algorithm based on convolutional neural networks. Changes in outcomes after 1 year were compared between Pompe patients and healthy controls using the Mann-Whitney test. Results: Pulmonary function outcomes and cranial-caudal ratio in Pompe patients did not change significantly over time compared to healthy controls. Diaphragm height ratio increased by 0.04 (−0.38 to 1.79) in Pompe patients compared to −0.02 (−0.18 to 0.25) in healthy controls (p = 0.02). An increased diaphragmatic curvature over time was observed in particular in untreated Pompe patients (p = 0.03), in those receiving ERT already for over 3 years (p = 0.03), and when severe diaphragmatic weakness was found on the initial MRI (p = 0.01); no progression was observed in Pompe patients who started ERT less than 3 years ago and in Pompe patients with mild diaphragmatic weakness on their initial MRI. Conclusions: MRI enables to detect small changes in diaphragmatic curvature over 1-year time in Pompe patients. It also showed that once severe diaphragmatic weakness has occurred, improvement of diaphragmatic muscle function seems unlikely. Key Points: • Changes in diaphragmatic curvature in Pompe patients over time assessed with 3D MRI may serve as an outcome measure to evaluate the effect of treatment on diaphragmatic function. • Diaphragmatic curvature showed a significant deterioration after 1 year in Pompe patients compared to healthy controls, but the curvature seems to remain stable over this period in patients who were treated with enzyme replacement therapy for less than 3 years, possibly indicating a positive effect of ERT. • Improvement of diaphragmatic curvature over time is rarely seen in Pompe patients once diaphragmatic motion shows severe impairment (cranial-caudal inspiratory/expiratory ratio < 1.4).
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This study has received funding by the Prinses Beatrix Spierfonds (project no.W.OR15-10) and by ZonMw (Veni grant to NAME vd Beek; No. 09150161910230).
© 2022, The Author(s).