Objective: Myocardial fibrosis identified by late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is associated with adverse cardiovascular events, but its value as an independent risk factor for sudden cardiac death (SCD) is unknown. We investigated the role of LGE-CMR in the risk stratification of HCM.
Methods: We conducted a prospective cohort study in a tertiary referral centre. Consecutive patients with HCM (n=711, median age 56.3 years, IQR 46.7-66.6; 70.0% male) underwent LGE-CMR and were followed for a median 3.5 years. The primary end point was SCD or aborted SCD.
Results: Overall, 471 patients (66.2%) had myocardial fibrosis (median 5.9% of left ventricular mass, IQR: 2.2-13.3). Twenty-two (3.1%) reached the primary end point. The extent but not the presence of fibrosis was a significant univariable predictor of the primary end point (HR per 5% LGE: 1.24, 95% CI 1.06 to 1.45; p=0.007 and HR for LGE: 2.69, 95% CI 0.91 to 7.97; p=0.073, respectively). However, on multivariable analysis, only LV-EF remained statistically significant (HR: 0.92, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.95; p<0.001). For the secondary outcome of cardiovascular mortality/aborted SCD, the presence and the amount of fibrosis were significant predictors on univariable but not multivariable analysis after adjusting for LV-EF and non-sustained ventricular tachycardia.
Conclusions: The amount of myocardial fibrosis was a strong univariable predictor of SCD risk. However, this effect was not maintained after adjusting for LV-EF. Further work is required to elucidate the interrelationship between fibrosis and traditional predictors of outcome in HCM.
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