Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy: evolving diagnostic perspectives

Eur Radiol. 2023 Jan;33(1):270-282. doi: 10.1007/s00330-022-08958-2. Epub 2022 Jul 5.


Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM) is a genetically determined heart muscle disease characterized by fibro-fatty myocardial replacement, clinically associated with malignant ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. Originally described a disease with a prevalent right ventricular (RV) involvement, subsequently two other phenotypes have been recognized, such as the left dominant and the biventricular phenotypes, for which a recent International Expert consensus document provided upgrade diagnostic criteria (the 2020 "Padua Criteria"). In this novel workup for the diagnosis of the entire spectrum of phenotypic variants of ACM, including left ventricular (LV) variants, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) has emerged as the cardiac imaging technique of choice, due to its capability of detailed morpho-functional and tissue characterization evaluation of both RV and LV. In this review, the key role of CMR in the diagnosis of ACM is outlined, including the supplemental value for the characterization of the disease variants. An ACM-specific CMR study protocol, as well as strengths and weaknesses of each imaging technique, is also provided. KEY POINTS: • Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy includes three different phenotypes: dominant right, biventricular, and dominant left. • In 2020, diagnostic criteria have been updated and cardiac magnetic resonance has emerged as the cardiac imaging technique of choice. • This aim of this review is to provide an update of the current state of art regarding the use of CMR in ACM, with a particular focus on novel diagnostic criteria, CMR protocols, and prognostic significance of CMR findings in ACM.

Keywords: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia; Magnetic resonance imaging; Sudden death.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / diagnostic imaging
  • Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia* / genetics
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac / pathology
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Phenotype