Diagnosis of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy: Progress and Pitfalls

Heart Lung Circ. 2018 Nov;27(11):1310-1317. doi: 10.1016/j.hlc.2018.03.023. Epub 2018 Apr 4.


Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inherited cardiomyopathy that predominantly affects the right ventricle. With a prevalence in the range of 1:5000 to 1:2000 persons, ARVC is one of the leading causes of sudden cardiac death in young people and in athletes. Although early detection and treatment is important, the diagnosis of ARVC remains challenging. There is no single pathognomonic diagnostic finding in ARVC; rather, current international task force criteria specify diagnostic major and minor criteria in six categories: right ventricular imaging (including echocardiography and cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)), histology, repolarisation abnormalities, depolarisation and conduction abnormalities, arrhythmias and family history (including genetic testing). Combining findings from differing diagnostic modalities can establish a "definite", "borderline" or "possible" diagnosis of ARVC. However, there are limitations inherent in the current task force criteria, including the lack of specificity for ARVC; future iterations may be improved, for example, by enhanced imaging protocols able to detect subtle changes in the structure and function of the right ventricle, incorporation of electro-anatomical data, response to adrenergic challenge, and validated criteria for interpreting genetic variants.

Keywords: Arrhythmogenic ventricular cardiomyopathy; Criteria; Diagnosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / diagnosis
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / epidemiology
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / genetics
  • Echocardiography / methods*
  • Genetic Testing / methods*
  • Global Health
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging*
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Cine / methods*
  • Morbidity / trends
  • Survival Rate / trends