Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
Fear of disease progression in carriers of the m.3243A > G mutation
Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases201813:203
© The Author(s). 2018
- Published: 13 November 2018
Being diagnosed with mitochondrial disease due to the m.3243A > G mutation is frequently preceded by a long diagnostic process. The disease itself is characterized by heterogeneous course and expression, so leaving patients with considerable uncertainty regarding their prognosis and treatment possibilities. This could easily result in fear of disease progression. This study investigated the presence of this fear and its correlates with genetic characteristics and clinical disease severity in m.3243A > G carriers.
In total 125 eligible m.3243A > G mutation carriers were invited to participate in this cross-sectional study. After informed consent, participants completed questionnaires including items on socio-demographics, fear of progression, depression, anxiety, and quality of life. Clinical disease severity was assessed by the NMDAS questionnaire. Heteroplasmy levels were assessed in leucocytes, urine epithelial cells and buccal mucosa.
Seventy-six carriers participated in this study. Results showed that 18% reported high fear of progression. Fear of progression was significantly related to all domains of quality of life. Furthermore, fear of progression was moderately correlated with feelings of depression (r = .37), and anxiety (r = .44). Patients with moderate or severe clinical symptoms on the NMDAS experienced more fear of progression than patients with mild clinical symptoms. Fear of progression was weakly correlated with heteroplasmy in leucocytes (r = .27) and buccal mucosa (r = .31).
A substantial part of m.3243A > G mutation carriers experience high levels of fear of progression which coincide with significantly lower quality of life. Only a small relation with disease characteristics was found. The impact of receiving a diagnosis without therapeutic possibilities on fear is important to consider.
- Mitochondrial disease
- M.3243A > G mutation
- Fear of progression
- Quality of life
- Mental health