Left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy: updated review

Ther Adv Cardiovasc Dis. 2013 Oct;7(5):260-73. doi: 10.1177/1753944713504639.


The first case of noncompaction was described in 1932 after an autopsy performed on a newborn infant with aortic atresia/coronary-ventricular fistula. Isolated noncompaction cardiomyopathy was first described in 1984. A review on selected/relevant medical literature was conducted using Pubmed from 1984 to 2013 and the pathogenesis, clinical features, and management are discussed. Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is a relatively rare congenital condition that results from arrest of the normal compaction process of the myocardium during fetal development. LVNC shows variability in its genetic pattern, pathophysiologic findings, and clinical presentations. The genetic heterogeneity, phenotypical overlap, and variety in clinical presentation raised the suspicion that LVNC might just be a morphological variant of other cardiomyopathies, but the American Heart Association classifies LVNC as a primary genetic cardiomyopathy. The familiar type is common and follows a X-linked, autosomal-dominant, or mitochondrial-inheritance pattern (in children). LVNC can occur in isolation or coexist with other cardiac and/or systemic anomalies. The clinical presentations are variable ranging from asymptomatic patients to patients who develop ventricular arrhythmias, thromboembolism, heart failure, and sudden cardiac death. Increased awareness over the last 25 years and improvements in technology have increased the identification of this illness and improved the clinical outcome and prognosis. LVNC is commonly diagnosed by echocardiography. Other useful diagnostic techniques for LVNC include cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, computerized tomography, and left ventriculography. Management is symptom based and patients with symptoms have a poorer prognosis. LVNC is a genetically heterogeneous disorder which can be associated with other anomalies. Making the correct diagnosis is important because of the possible associations and the need for long-term management and screening of living relatives.

Keywords: cardiomyopathy; genetics; noncompaction.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Child
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / etiology
  • Echocardiography*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Isolated Noncompaction of the Ventricular Myocardium / diagnosis
  • Isolated Noncompaction of the Ventricular Myocardium / physiopathology*
  • Isolated Noncompaction of the Ventricular Myocardium / therapy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed