Objectives: We sought to describe characteristics and outcome in adults with isolated ventricular noncompaction (IVNC).
Background: Isolated ventricular noncompaction is an unclassified cardiomyopathy due to intrauterine arrest of compaction of the loose interwoven meshwork. Knowledge regarding diagnosis, morbidity and prognosis is limited.
Methods: Echocardiographic criteria for IVNC include-in the absence of significant heart lesions-segmental thickening of the left ventricular myocardial wall consisting of two layers: a thin, compacted epicardial and an extremely thickened endocardial layer with prominent trabeculations and deep recesses. Thirty-four adults (age >16 years, 25 men) fulfilled the diagnostic criteria and were followed prospectively.
Results: At diagnosis, mean age was 42 + 17 years, and 12 patients (35%) were in New York Heart Association class III/IV. Left ventricular end-diastolic diameter was 65 + 12 mm and ejection fraction 33 + 13%. Apex and/or midventricular segments of both the inferior and lateral wall were involved in >80% of patients. Follow-up was 44 + 40 months. Major complications were heart failure in 18 patients (53%), thromboembolic events in 8 patients (24%) and ventricular tachycardias in 14 patients (41%). There were 12 deaths: sudden in six, end-stage heart failure in four and other causes in two patients. Four patients underwent heart transplantation. Automated cardioverter/defibrillators were implanted in four patients.
Conclusions: Diagnosis of IVNC by echocardiography using strict criteria is feasible. Its mortality and morbidity are high, including heart failure, thrombo-embolic events and ventricular arrhythmias. Risk stratification includes heart failure therapy, oral anticoagulation, heart transplantation and implantation of an automated defibrillator/cardioverter. As IVNC is a distinct entity, its classification as a specific cardiomyopathy seems to be more appropriate.