Published online by Cambridge University Press: 21 February 2012
Diseases of the myoneural junction and muscle are disabling and some are life-threatening. Recent successes in the identification of the underlying genetic mechanisms have had profound implication for their diagnostics, treatment and classification. We define familial risks for siblings who were hospitalized for or deceased from diseases of the myoneural junction and muscle. A nationwide database on diseases of the myoneural junction and muscle was constructed by linking the Multigeneration Register on 0- to 69-year-old siblings to the Hospital Discharge Register and the Causes of Death Register from years 1987 to 2001. Standardized risk ratios (SIRs) were calculated for affected sibling pairs by comparing to those whose siblings had no diseases of myoneural junction and muscle. Among a total of 2307 patients, myasthenia gravis, muscular dystrophy and myotonic disorders were commonest diagnoses. The sibling risks for these disease were 22, 190 and 198, respectively, when a sibling was diagnosed with any disease of the myoneural junction and muscle. The concordant SIRs, both siblings presenting the same disease, were 42 for myasthenia gravis, 737 for muscular dystrophy, 2000 for congenital myopathy, 1211 for myotonic disorder, 909 for periodic paralysis and 209 for unspecified myopathy. Only a few discordant sibling pairs were noted. The very high overall SIRs for the diseases of the myoneural junction and muscle imply that the sporadic forms of these diseases are relatively rare and these diseases are overwhelmingly heritable.