Journal Article
Multicenter Study
Observational Study
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A retrospective study of morbidity and mortality of chronic acid sphingomyelinase deficiency in Germany.

BACKGROUND: Acid sphingomyelinase deficiency (ASMD) is a rare, progressive, potentially fatal lysosomal storage disease that exhibits a broad spectrum of clinical phenotypes. There is a need to expand the knowledge of disease mortality and morbidity in Germany because of limited information on survival analysis in patients with chronic ASMD (type B or type A/B).

METHODS: This observational, multicentre, retrospective cohort study was conducted using medical records of patients with the first symptom onset/diagnosis of ASMD type B or type A/B between 1st January 1990 and 31st July 2021 from four German medical centres. Eligible medical records were abstracted to collect data on demographic characteristics, medical history, hospitalisation, mortality, and causes of death from disease onset to the last follow-up/death. Survival outcomes were estimated using the Kaplan-Meier analysis. Standardised mortality ratio (SMR) was also explored.

RESULTS: This study included 33 chart records of patients with ASMD type B (n = 24) and type A/B (n = 9), with a median (interquartile range [IQR]) age of 8.0 [3.0-20.0] years and 1.0 [1.0-2.0] years, respectively, at diagnosis. The commonly reported manifestations were related to spleen (100.0%), liver (93.9%), and respiratory (77.4%) abnormalities. Nine deaths were reported at a median [IQR] age of 17.0 [5.0-25.0] years, with 66.7% of overall patients deceased at less than 18 years of age; the median [IQR] age at death for patients with ASMD type B (n = 4) and type A/B (n = 5) was 31.0 [11.0-55.0] and 9.0 [4.0-18.0] years, respectively. All deaths were ASMD-related and primarily caused by liver or respiratory failures or severe progressive neurodegeneration (two patients with ASMD type A/B). The median (95% confidence interval [CI]) overall survival age since birth was 45.4 (17.5-65.0) years. Additionally, an SMR [95% CI] analysis (21.6 [9.8-38.0]) showed that age-specific deaths in the ASMD population were 21.6 times more frequent than that in the general German population.

CONCLUSIONS: This study highlights considerable morbidity and mortality associated with ASMD type B and type A/B in Germany. It further emphasises the importance of effective therapy for chronic ASMD to reduce disease complications.

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