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Duchenne muscular dystrophy

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Duchenne muscular dystrophy is a common and possibly the best known muscular dystrophy. It follows an aggressive and progressive course.

The disease is inherited in an X-linked manner although up to 30% of cases represent new mutations. The gene for Duchenne muscular dystrophy is the dystrophin locus at Xp21.

  • occurs in approximately 1 in 3500 male births, and in about 1 in 50 000 000 female births
  • females with a mutant X chromosome will not have DMD, but they will be carriers of the disorder
  • those very rare females who have DMD are believed to either carry mutant genes on both X chromosomes, or have an inactivated healthy X chromosome (1)


  • the prevalence of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy varies with respect to different populations. However, in a study of neuromuscular disease in Northern Ireland, Duchenne muscular dystrophy was found to have the second highest prevalence, after myotonic dystrophy (2).


  1. Webb CL. Parents' perspectives on coping with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. Child Care Health Dev. 2005 Jul;31(4):385-96.
  2. Hicks MI et al. The prevalence of inherited neuromuscular disease in Northern Ireland.Neuromuscul Disord. 1996 Jan;6(1):69-73.