The spinal muscular atrophies represent a heterogeneous group of neuromuscular disorders with predominantly autosomal recessive inheritance, characterized by degeneration of the anterior horn cells in the spinal cord and, in some cases, of the motor nuclei in the brain stem, resulting in symmetrical muscle weakness and atrophy. The condition is clinically heterogeneous and has been divided into several subtypes according to age of onset and clinical severity.
The incidence rate of spinal muscular atrophy type II is estimated around 3 in 100,000 births. The disease has an intermediate form of severity between the infantile form of SMA type I and SMA III. SMA II, is characterized by onset usually between 3 and 15 months and survival beyond 4 years and usually until adolescence or later. Proximal muscle weakness is the cardinal feature as in other forms of spinal muscular atrophy.