Objectives: We studied the prognostic implications of midwall fibrosis in dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in a prospective longitudinal study.
Background: Risk stratification of patients with nonischemic DCM in the era of device implantation is problematic. Approximately 30% of patients with DCM have midwall fibrosis as detected by late gadolinium-enhancement (LGE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR), which may increase susceptibility to arrhythmia and progression of heart failure.
Methods: Consecutive DCM patients (n = 101) with the presence or absence of midwall fibrosis were followed up prospectively for 658 +/- 355 days for events.
Results: Midwall fibrosis was present in 35% of patients and was associated with a higher rate of the predefined primary combined end point of all-cause death and hospitalization for a cardiovascular event (hazard ratio 3.4, p = 0.01). Multivariate analysis showed midwall fibrosis as the sole significant predictor of death or hospitalization. However, there was no significant difference in all-cause mortality between the 2 groups. Midwall fibrosis also predicted secondary outcome measures of sudden cardiac death (SCD) or ventricular tachycardia (VT) (hazard ratio 5.2, p = 0.03). Midwall fibrosis remained predictive of SCD/VT after correction for baseline differences in left ventricular ejection fraction between the 2 groups.
Conclusions: In DCM, midwall fibrosis determined by CMR is a predictor of the combined end point of all-cause mortality and cardiovascular hospitalization, which is independent of ventricular remodeling. In addition, midwall fibrosis by CMR predicts SCD/VT. This suggests a potential role for CMR in the risk stratification of patients with DCM, which may have value in determining the need for device therapy.