Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is valuable for the detection of cardiac involvement in neuromuscular diseases (NMDs). The authors explored the value of 2D- and 3D-left ventricular (LV) myocardial strain analysis using feature-tracking (FT)-CMR to detect subclinical cardiac involvement in NMD. The study included retrospective analysis of 111 patients with NMD; mitochondrial cytopathies (n = 14), Friedreich's ataxia (FA, n = 27), myotonic dystrophy (n = 27), Becker/Duchenne's muscular dystrophy (BMD/DMD, n = 15), Duchenne's carriers (n = 6), or other (n = 22) and 57 age- and sex-matched healthy volunteers. Biventricular volumes, myocardial late gadolinium enhancement (LGE), and LV myocardial deformation were assessed by FT-CMR, including 2D and 3D global circumferential strain (GCS), global radial strain (GRS), global longitudinal strain (GLS), and torsion. Compared with the healthy volunteers, patients with NMD had impaired 2D-GCS (P < 0.001) and 2D-GRS (in the short-axis, P < 0.001), but no significant differences in 2D-GRS long-axis (P = 0.101), 2D-GLS (P = 0.069), or torsion (P = 0.122). 3D-GRS, 3D-GCS, and 3D-GLS values were all significantly different to the control group (P < 0.0001 for all). Especially, even NMD patients without overt cardiac involvement (i.e. LV dilation/hypertrophy, reduced LVEF, or LGE presence) had significantly impaired 3D-GRS, GCS, and GLS vs. the control group (P < 0.0001). 3D-GRS and GCS values were significantly associated with the LGE presence and pattern, being most impaired in patients with transmural LGE. 3D-FT CMR detects subclinical cardiac muscle disease in patients with NMD even before the development of replacement fibrosis or ventricular remodelling which may be a useful imaging biomarker for early detection of cardiac involvement.

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