Diagnosing ARVC in Pediatric Patients Applying the Revised Task Force Criteria: Importance of Imaging, 12-Lead ECG, and Genetics

Pediatr Cardiol. 2018 Aug;39(6):1156-1164. doi: 10.1007/s00246-018-1875-y. Epub 2018 May 12.


Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a potentially lethal disease that is well described in adults. In pediatric patients, however, identification of patients at risk of adverse events of ARVC remains a challenge. We aimed to determine which criteria of the revised Task Force Criteria (rTFC), alone or combined, have an impact on diagnosis of ARVC when compared to disease-specific genetic mutations in pediatric patients ≤ 18 years. Between September 2010 and December 2013, 48 consecutive young patients ≤ 18 years of age (mean 14, range of 12.9-15.1 years) underwent contrast-enhanced magnetic resonance imaging (CMR), genetic testing, and comprehensive clinical work-up for ARVC criteria to test for clinically suspected ARVC. As specified by the rTFC, patients were grouped into four categories: "definite," "borderline," "possible," and "none" ARVC. Of the 48 patients, 12 were found to have gene mutations of either the desmoplakin (9/12) or plakophilin (3/12) locus. According to rTFC 12/48 patients were considered as "definite" ARVC (25%), while 10/12 (83.3%) had an ARVC-specific gene mutation. Of the remaining 36 patients, 6 (12.5%) were grouped as "borderline" ARVC, 7 (14.6%) as "possible" ARVC (including the remaining two genetic mutations), and 22 (45.8%) as "none" ARVC, respectively. Statistical analysis of ARVC criteria in patients diagnosed with "definite" ARVC revealed high prevalence of positive findings by imaging (CMR and echocardiography) and positive genetics. The positive predictive value to detect "definite" ARVC by genotyping was 83.3%, while the negative predictive value was 94%. Logistic regression analyses for different criteria combinations revealed that imaging modalities (echo and CMR combined) and abnormalities of 12-lead ECG were significant markers (p < 0.01). Positive results of endomyocardial biopsies or arrhythmia on ECG or Holter as defined by the rTFC were not significant in this analysis. The rTFC for ARVC should be used with caution in children and adolescents suspected for ARVC. 12-Lead ECG and imaging modalities (CMR and echo) were of major value, positive results should prompt genetic testing.

Keywords: 12-Lead ECG; ARVC; Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy; CMR; Children; Diagnostic criteria; Genetic testing.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advisory Committees
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / genetics
  • Echocardiography / standards
  • Electrocardiography / standards
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / standards
  • Male
  • Mutation
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors