Objectives: We sought to assess whether hyperenhancement by gadolinium cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) occurs in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and correlates with the risk of heart failure and sudden death.
Background: The myocardial interstitium is abnormal in HCM at post-mortem. Focally increased interstitial myocardial space appears as hyperenhancement with gadolinium CMR.
Methods: In a blinded, prospective study, HCM patients were selected for the presence (n = 23) or absence (n = 30) of an increased clinical risk of sudden death and/or progressive adverse left ventricular (LV) remodeling. Gadolinium-enhanced CMR was performed.
Results: Myocardial hyperenhancement was found in 42 patients (79%), affecting 10.9% (range 0% to 48%) of the LV mass. There was a greater extent of hyperenhancement in patients with progressive disease (28.5% vs. 8.7%, p < 0.001) and in patients with two or more risk factors for sudden death (15.7% vs. 8.6%, p = 0.02). Improved discrimination was seen in patients >40 years old (29.6% vs. 6.7%, p < 0.001) for progressive disease and for patients <40 years old for risk factors for sudden death (15.7% vs. 2.1%, p = 0.002). Patients with diffuse rather than confluent enhancement had two or more risk factors for sudden death (87% vs. 33%, p = 0.01).
Conclusions: Gadolinium CMR reveals myocardial hyperenhancement in HCM. The extent of hyperenhancement is associated with progressive ventricular dilation and markers of sudden death.