Early diagnosis is of substantial benefit for patients with Pompe disease. Yet underdiagnosing and substantial diagnostic delay are still frequent and the determinants of this are unknown. This study is the first to systematically investigate the diagnostic odyssey in Pompe disease from patients', parents', and physicians' perspectives.
Patients with infantile or late onset Pompe disease, their parents as well as their metabolic experts were invited to fill in respective surveys. The survey addressed perceived disease symptoms at onset and during the course of the disease, specialties of involved physicians, activities of patient-initiated search for diagnosis and the perceived impact of time to diagnosis on outcome. Results of experts' and patients'/parents' surveys were compared and expressed by descriptive statistics.
Results and Discussion
We collected data on 15 males and 17 females including 9 infantile and 23 late onset Pompe patients. All received the correct diagnosis at a metabolic or musculoskeletal expert center. Patients with direct referral to the expert center had the lowest diagnostic delay, while patients who were seen by several physicians, received the correct diagnosis after 44%-200% longer delay. The proportion of direct referral varied strongly between pediatricians (57%) and other disciplines (18%-36%).
Our study highlights a substantially larger diagnostic delay in Pompe patients that are not directly referred to expert centers for diagnostic work. Our findings may be used to develop more successful strategies for early diagnosis.
Diagnostic delay in Pompe disease is substantial particularly in patients that are not directly referred to expert centers for diagnostic workup, so facilitating direct referral may be a new strategy for early diagnosis.