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Importance of an echocardiogram in the evaluation of ataxia
  1. Sarah Stokreef1,
  2. Mariana Lemos2 and
  3. Sofia Quintas3
  1. 1Pediatrics, Hospital do Divino Espirito Santo de Ponta Delgada EPE, Ponta Delgada, Portugal
  2. 2Pediatric Cardiology, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa Ocidental EPE Hospital de Santa Cruz, Carnaxide, Portugal
  3. 3Pediatrics, Hospital de Santa Maria, Lisboa, Portugal
  1. Correspondence to Dr Sarah Stokreef; sarahstokreef{at}


We present the case of a boy in his middle childhood with gait ataxia and loss of reflexes with a 1-year onset. He had a background of an autism spectrum disorder but was otherwise healthy. A paediatric cardiology assessment was requested to investigate possible cardiac involvement associated to his neurological symptoms. Even though he had no cardiac symptoms and a normal electrocardiography, the echocardiogram revealed severe asymmetric left ventricle hypertrophy consistent with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. This prompted genetic testing and the diagnosis of Friedreich’s ataxia was confirmed.

  • Paediatrics
  • Cardiovascular medicine
  • Clinical diagnostic tests
  • Neuro genetics

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  • Contributors The submitting author, SS, has reviewed articles in order to write this article and has discussed the main points with the other authors. ML contributed with the echocardiogram images and critically reviewed the proposal and first drafts. SQ critically reviewed the proposal and drafts.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Case reports provide a valuable learning resource for the scientific community and can indicate areas of interest for future research. They should not be used in isolation to guide treatment choices or public health policy.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.