OBJECTIVES To determine the natural history of Anderson-Fabry disease (AFD) as a baseline for efficacy assessment of potentially therapeutic drugs.
DESIGN The first large cross sectional study of a patient cohort from the AFD clinical and genetic register (UK), maintained for the last 15 years.
MEASURES Prevalence, mortality, frequency of AFD manifestations, and impact of disease on patient lives, assessed from the AFD register and the disease specific questionnaire.
RESULTS The median cumulative survival was 50 years (n=51), which represents an approximately 20 year reduction of life span. Neuropathic pain was present in 77% (n=93) with mean pain score of 5 (scale 0–10) despite treatment with anticonvulsants and opiates. Pain stopped in only 11%. Cerebrovascular complications developed in 24.2% and renal failure in 30%. The onset and progression of serious AFD manifestations was highly variable. The relationship of gastrointestinal manifestations on weight, using body mass index (BMI), was significant (p=0.01). High frequency sensorineural deafness was confirmed in 78% of audiograms. Neuropathic pain and angiokeratoma were absent in five adult males (∼5%). Median age at diagnosis of AFD was 21.9 years (n=64).
IMPACT OF DISEASE Attendance at school, sports, and social activity were significantly affected by AFD. Only 56.6% (n=46) of patients were employed. Psychosexual effects of genital angiokeratoma, genital pain, and impotence were not previously recognised.
CONCLUSION The majority of males experience multiple disease manifestations and the duration of neuropathic pain was lifelong. The AFD register proved useful for the determination of baseline disease parameters in this cohort.
- Anderson-Fabry disease
- natural history
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