Noninvasive detection of myocardial fibrosis in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy using delayed-enhancement magnetic resonance imaging

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2005 Jan 4;45(1):98-103. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2004.09.053.


Objectives: We evaluated the role of myocardial delayed-enhancement (MDE) magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for noninvasive detection of fibrosis in Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C).

Background: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy is characterized by fibro-fatty replacement of the right ventricle (RV) leading to arrhythmias and RV failure. Endomyocardial biopsy can demonstrate fibro-fatty replacement of the RV myocardium; however, the test is invasive and carries a risk of perforation.

Methods: Thirty consecutive patients were prospectively evaluated for ARVD/C. Magnetic resonance imaging was performed on a 1.5-T scanner. Ten minutes after intravenous administration of 0.2 mmol/kg of gadodiamide, MDE-MRI was obtained. Diagnosis of ARVD/C was based upon the Task Force criteria and did not include MRI findings.

Results: Twelve (40%) of 30 patients met the Task Force criteria for ARVD/C. Eight (67%) of the 12 ARVD/C patients demonstrated increased signal on MDE-MRI in the RV compared with none (0%) of the 18 patients without ARVD/C (p <0.001). Endomyocardial biopsy was performed in 9 of the 12 ARVD/C patients. Of the nine patients, four had fibro-fatty changes consistent with the diagnosis of ARVD/C. Each of these patients had increased RV signal on MDE-MRI. None of the patients without ARVD/C had any abnormalities either on histopathology or on MDE-MRI. Electrophysiologic testing revealed inducible sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) in six of the eight ARVD/C patients with delayed enhancement, compared with none of the ARVD/C patients without delayed enhancement (p=0.01).

Conclusions: Noninvasive detection of RV myocardial fibro-fatty changes in ARVD/C is possible by MDE-MRI. Magnetic resonance imaging findings had an excellent correlation with histopathology and predicted inducible VT on programmed electrical stimulation, suggesting a possible role in evaluation and diagnosis of patients with suspected ARVD/C.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / pathology*
  • Child
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiologic Techniques, Cardiac
  • Female
  • Fibrosis
  • Gadolinium DTPA
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine*
  • Male
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Prospective Studies


  • gadodiamide
  • Gadolinium DTPA