Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is characterized by GAA expansions in the intron 1 of the frataxin gene correlating with disease onset and progression as well as cardiac affection. Accordingly, FRDA patients with early disease onset show a clear impairment of mitochondrial function in the myocardium. The purpose of this study was to investigate cardiac function and high-energy phosphate metabolism in FRDA patients with late disease onset.
Using a 1.5 T magnetic resonance scanner, cardiac phosphorus-31 two-dimensional chemical shift imaging was performed in ten patients (seven male, three female) with a late onset of FRDA and in 35 healthy, male controls. Ejection faction (EF) and interventricular septum thickness (IST) were determined by echocardiography.