Prevalence of Left Ventricular Noncompaction in Newborns

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging. 2022 Jun;15(6):e014159. doi: 10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.121.014159. Epub 2022 Jun 21.


Background: Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is characterized by excessive trabeculations of the LV and may be associated with reduced systolic function or severe adverse outcomes. Several aspects remain to be elucidated; there is controversy to whether LVNC cardiomyopathy is a distinct cardiomyopathy caused by failure of the spongy fetal myocardium to condense during fetal development or acquired later in life as a morphological trait associated with other types of cardiomyopathy; the prevalence in unselected populations is unknown and the distinction between normal variation and pathology remains to be defined. In this study, we aimed to determine the prevalence of LVNC and the association to LV systolic function in a large, population-based cohort of neonates. In addition, we assessed the normal ratio of noncompact to compact (NC:C) myocardium in 150 healthy neonates.

Methods: Echocardiographic data were prospectively collected in the population study Copenhagen Baby Heart Study. The ratio of NC:C was measured in 12 ventricular segments. LVNC was defined as NC:C ≥2 in at least one segment. Neonates with LVNC were matched 1:10 to controls on sex, gestational age, and weight and age at the examination day.

Results: In total, 25 590 neonates (52% males, median age 11 [interquartile range, 7-15] days) underwent echocardiography. Among 21 133 with satisfactory visualization of ventricular segments, we identified a prevalence of LVNC of 0.076% (95% CI, 0.047-0.123). LV ejection fraction was lower in neonates with LVNC compared with matched controls (median 49.5 versus 59.0%; P<0.0001). In neonates with otherwise healthy hearts, the median NC:C ratio ranged from 0.0 to 0.7 and the 99th percentiles from 1.0 to 1.9 for each of the 12 segments.

Conclusions: The prevalence of LVNC based on neonatal echocardiography was 0.076%. LVNC was associated with lower LV systolic function. The findings in normal newborns support the cutoff NC:C ≥2 as an appropriate diagnostic criterion.

Registration: URL: https://www.

Clinicaltrials: gov; Unique identifier: NCT02753348.

Keywords: cardiomyopathy; child; echocardiography; infant; myocardium.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cardiomyopathies* / diagnostic imaging
  • Cardiomyopathies* / epidemiology
  • Echocardiography
  • Female
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / diagnostic imaging
  • Heart Defects, Congenital* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Prevalence
  • Ventricular Function, Left

Associated data