Low frequency of Fabry disease in patients with common heart disease

Raphael Schiffmann, Caren Swift, Nathan McNeill, Elfrida R. Benjamin, Jeffrey P. Castelli, Jay Barth, Lawrence Sweetman, Xuan Wang, Xiaoyang Wu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Purpose: To test the hypothesis that undiagnosed patients with Fabry disease exist among patients affected by common heart disease. Methods: Globotriaosylceramide in random whole urine using tandem mass spectroscopy, α-galactosidase A activity in dried blood spots, and next-generation sequencing of pooled or individual genomic DNA samples supplemented by Sanger sequencing. Results: We tested 2,256 consecutive patients: 852 women (median age 65 years (19-95)) and 1,404 men (median age 65 years (21-92)). The primary diagnoses were coronary artery disease (n = 994), arrhythmia (n = 607), cardiomyopathy (n = 138), and valvular disease (n = 568). Urinary globotriaosylceramide was elevated in 15% of patients and 15 males had low α-galactosidase A activity. GLA variants found included R118C (n = 2), D83N, and D313Y (n = 7); IVS6-22 C>T, IVS4-16 A>G, IVS2+990C>A, 5′UTR-10 C>T (n = 4), IVS1-581 C>T, IVS1-1238 G>A, 5′UTR-30 G>A, IVS2+590C>T, IVS0-12 G>A, IVS4+68A>G, IVS0-10 C>T, IVS2-81-77delCAGCC, IVS2-77delC. Although the pathogenicity of several of these missense mutations and complex intronic haplotypes has been controversial, none of the patients screened in this study were diagnosed definitively with Fabry disease. Conclusion: This population of patients with common heart disease did not contain a substantial number of patients with undiagnosed Fabry disease. GLA gene sequencing is superior to urinary globotriaosylceramide or α-galactosidase A activity in the screening for Fabry disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)754-759
Number of pages6
JournalGenetics in Medicine
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Fabry disease
  • X-linked
  • heart disease
  • screening

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics(clinical)


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