Right Ventricular Functional Abnormalities in Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: Association With Life-Threatening Ventricular Arrhythmias

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2021 May;14(5):900-910. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2020.12.028. Epub 2021 Feb 10.


Objectives: This study aimed to perform an external validation of the value of right ventricular (RV) deformation patterns and RV mechanical dispersion in patients with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (AC). Secondly, this study assessed the association of these parameters with life-threatening ventricular arrhythmia (VA).

Background: Subtle RV dysfunction assessed by echocardiographic deformation imaging is valuable in AC diagnosis and risk prediction. Two different methods have emerged, the RV deformation pattern recognition and RV mechanical dispersion, but these have neither been externally validated nor compared.

Methods: We analyzed AC probands and mutation-positive family members, matched from 2 large European referral centers. We performed speckle tracking echocardiography, whereby we classified the subtricuspid deformation patterns from normal to abnormal and assessed RV mechanical dispersion from 6 segments. We defined VA as sustained ventricular tachycardia, appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy, or aborted cardiac arrest.

Results: We included 160 subjects, 80 from each center (43% proband, 55% women, age 41 ± 17 years). VA had occurred in 47 (29%) subjects. In both cohorts, patients with a history of VA showed abnormal deformation patterns (96% and 100%) and had greater RV mechanical dispersion (53 ± 30 ms vs. 30 ± 21 ms; p < 0.001 for the total cohort). Both parameters were independently associated to VA (adjusted odds ratio: 2.71 [95% confidence interval: 1.47 to 5.00] per class step-up, and 1.26 [95% confidence interval: 1.07 to 1.49]/10 ms, respectively). The association with VA significantly improved when adding RV mechanical dispersion to pattern recognition (net reclassification improvement 0.42; p = 0.02 and integrated diagnostic improvement 0.06; p = 0.01).

Conclusions: We externally validated 2 RV dysfunction parameters in AC. Adding RV mechanical dispersion to RV deformation patterns significantly improved the association with life-threatening VA, indicating incremental value.

Keywords: ARVC; arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy; deformation imaging; strain; ventricular arrhythmia.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / etiology
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / genetics
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Predictive Value of Tests
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular* / diagnostic imaging
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular* / etiology
  • Young Adult