Senesac CR, Barnard AM, Lott DJ, Nair KS, Harrington AT, Willcocks RJ, Zilke KL, Rooney WD, Walter GA, Vandenborne K. Magnetic Resonance Imaging Studies in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy: Linking Findings to the Physical Therapy Clinic. Phys Ther. 2020 Oct 30;100(11):2035-2048. doi: 10.1093/ptj/pzaa140. PMID: 32737968; PMCID: PMC7596892.
Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a muscle degenerative disorder that manifests in early childhood and results in progressive muscle weakness. Physical therapists have long been an important component of the multidisciplinary team caring for people with DMD, providing expertise in areas of disease assessment, contracture management, assistive device prescription, and exercise prescription. Over the last decade, magnetic resonance imaging of muscles in people with DMD has led to an improved understanding of the muscle pathology underlying the clinical manifestations of DMD. Findings from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies in DMD, paired with the clinical expertise of physical therapists, can help guide research that leads to improved physical therapist care for this unique patient population. The 2 main goals of this perspective article are to (1) summarize muscle pathology and disease progression findings from qualitative and quantitative muscle MRI studies in DMD and (2) link MRI findings of muscle pathology to the clinical manifestations observed by physical therapists with discussion of any potential implications of MRI findings on physical therapy management.
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