Cardiovascular magnetic resonance in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy revisited: comparison with task force criteria and genotype

J Am Coll Cardiol. 2006 Nov 21;48(10):2132-40. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2006.07.045. Epub 2006 Oct 31.


Objectives: We sought to assess the utility of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in the evaluation of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) in relation to diagnostic criteria and genotype.

Background: Timely diagnosis of ARVC is difficult as clinical findings may be subtle and nonspecific in early disease. The role of CMR is controversial owing to the absence of a standardized protocol, insufficient experience with the modality, and inherent difficulties in imaging the right ventricle.

Methods: Comprehensive CMR examination was performed in 232 patients undergoing evaluation for suspected ARVC. CMR outcomes were compared with: 1) prospective clinical diagnosis using Task Force guidelines, with and without the proposed modifications for familial ARVC; and 2) gene-carrier status in 35 individuals from genotyped families.

Results: CMR studies were positive in all 64 patients who prospectively fulfilled Task Force criteria, resulting in 100% sensitivity. Specificity in relation to Task Force criteria was low (29%). Of the 119 apparent false positives detected by CMR, however, 63 fulfilled modified diagnostic criteria for familial ARVC and 7 were obligate gene carriers, suggesting that CMR frequently identifies individuals with early disease, in whom Task Force criteria are relatively insensitive. This was borne out by evaluation of genotyped individuals (26 gene-positive and 9 gene-negative), in whom CMR had a sensitivity of 96% and a specificity of 78%.

Conclusions: CMR is a valuable component of the diagnostic workup for ARVC when performed with a dedicated protocol by specialists with experience in analysis of volumes, right ventricular wall motion, and delayed-enhancement imaging.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Advisory Committees*
  • Aged
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / genetics*
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology*
  • Child
  • False Positive Reactions
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / standards
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity