Despite an extensive literature defining the mechanisms and significance of pathological myocardial remodeling, there has been no comprehensive review of the inverse process, often labeled reverse remodeling. Accordingly, the goal of this review is to overview the varied settings in which clinically significant reverse remodeling has been well documented. When available, we reviewed relevant randomized, controlled clinical trials, and meta-analyses with sufficient cardiac imaging data to permit conclusions about reverse remodeling. When these types of studies were not available, relevant case-control studies and case series that employed appropriate methodology were reviewed. Regression of pathological myocardial hypertrophy, chamber shape distortions, and dysfunction occurs in a wide variety of settings. Although reverse remodeling occurs spontaneously in some etiologies of myocardial dysfunction and failure, remodeling is more commonly observed in response to medical, device-based, or surgical therapies, including β-blockers, revascularization, cardiac resynchronization therapy, and valve surgery. Indeed, reverse remodeling following pathophysiologically targeted interventions helps validate that the targeted mechanisms are propelling and/or sustaining pathological remodeling. The diverse clinical settings in which reverse remodeling has been observed demonstrates that myocardial remodeling is bidirectional and occurs across the full spectrum of myocardial disease severity, duration, and etiology. Observations in several settings suggest that recovered hearts are not truly normal despite parallel improvements at organ, tissue, and cellular level. Nevertheless, the link between reverse remodeling and improved outcomes should inspire further research to better understand the mechanisms responsible for both reverse remodeling and persistent deviations from normalcy.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.