Safety and Utility of Cardiopulmonary Exercise Testing in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy/Dysplasia

J Am Heart Assoc. 2020 Feb 4;9(3):e013695. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.013695. Epub 2020 Feb 3.


Background Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D) is characterized by high arrhythmic burden and progressive heart failure, which can prompt referral for heart transplantation. Cardiopulmonary exercise testing (CPET) has an established role in risk stratification for advanced heart failure therapies, but has not been described in ARVC/D. This study sought to determine the safety and prognostic utility of CPET in patients with ARVC/D. Methods and Results Using the Johns Hopkins ARVC/D Registry, we examined patients with ARVC/D undergoing CPET. Baseline characteristics and transplant-free survival were compared on the basis of peak oxygen consumption (pVO2) (≤14 or >14 mL/kg per minute) and ventilatory efficiency (Ve/VCO2 slope ≤34 or >34). Thirty-eight patients underwent 50 CPETs. There were no sustained arrhythmic events. Twenty-nine patients achieved a maximal test. Patients with pVO2 ≤14 mL/kg per minute were more often men (P=0.042) compared with patients with pVO2 >14 mL/kg per minute. Patients with Ve/VCO2 slope >34 tended to have more moderate/severe right ventricular dilation (7/9 [78%] versus 10/26 [38%]; P=0.060) and clinical heart failure (8/9 [89%] versus 13/26 [50%]; P=0.056) compared with patients with Ve/VCO2 slope ≤34. Patients who underwent heart transplantation were more likely to have clinical heart failure (10/10 [100%] versus 13/28 [46%]; P=0.003). Patients with Ve/VCO2 slope >34 had worse transplant-free survival compared with patients with Ve/VCO2 slope ≤34 (n=35; hazard ratio, 6.57 [95% CI, 1.28-33.72]; log-rank P=0.010), whereas transplant-free survival was similar on the basis of pVO2 groups (n=29; hazard ratio, 3.38 [95% CI, 0.75-15.19]; log-rank P=0.092). Conclusions CPET is safe to perform in patients with ARVC/D. Ve/VCO2 slope may be used for risk stratification and guide referral for heart transplantation in ARVC/D.

Keywords: arrhythmias; cardiomyopathy; exercise testing; genetics; heart failure; transplantation.

Publication types

  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / diagnosis*
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / physiopathology
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia / surgery
  • Exercise Test* / adverse effects
  • Exercise Tolerance*
  • Female
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / surgery
  • Heart Transplantation
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption*
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Progression-Free Survival
  • Registries
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Risk Factors
  • Young Adult