Background: Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is felt to be a rare form of cardiomyopathy, although its prevalence in a nonreferred population is unknown. We examined the prevalence and clinical characteristics of LVNC in a community hospital cohort of adult patients with echocardiographic evidence of left ventricular (LV) systolic dysfunction.
Methods: All adult echocardiograms with global LV dysfunction and an LVEF < or = 45% over a 1-year period were reviewed for signs of LV noncompaction. Its presence was confirmed by the consensus of at least 2/3 readers specifically searching for this using standard criteria for noncompaction.
Results: A 3.7% prevalence of definite or probable LVNC was found in those with LVEF < or = 45% and a 0.26% prevalence for all patients referred for echocardiography during this period. This is appreciably higher than prior reports from tertiary centers.
Conclusion: Noncompaction may not be a rare phenomenon and is comparable to other more widely recognized but less common causes of heart failure such as peripartum myopathy, connective tissue diseases, chronic substance abuse and HIV disease.