Excessive Trabeculation of the Left Ventricle: JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging Expert Panel Paper

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging. 2023 Mar;16(3):408-425. doi: 10.1016/j.jcmg.2022.12.026. Epub 2023 Feb 8.


Excessive trabeculation, often referred to as "noncompacted" myocardium, has been described at all ages, from the fetus to the adult. Current evidence for myocardial development, however, does not support the formation of compact myocardium from noncompacted myocardium, nor the arrest of this process to result in so-called noncompaction. Excessive trabeculation is frequently observed by imaging studies in healthy individuals, as well as in association with pregnancy, athletic activity, and with cardiac diseases of inherited, acquired, developmental, or congenital origins. Adults with incidentally noted excessive trabeculation frequently require no further follow-up based on trabecular pattern alone. Patients with cardiomyopathy and excessive trabeculation are managed by cardiovascular symptoms rather than the trabecular pattern. To date, the prognostic role of excessive trabeculation in adults has not been shown to be independent of other myocardial disease. In neonates and children with excessive trabeculation and normal or abnormal function, clinical caution seems warranted because of the reported association with genetic and neuromuscular disorders. This report summarizes the evidence concerning the etiology, pathophysiology, and clinical relevance of excessive trabeculation. Gaps in current knowledge of the clinical relevance of excessive trabeculation are indicated, with priorities suggested for future research and improved diagnosis in adults and children.

Keywords: cardiovascular imaging; clinical management; diagnosis; etiology; left ventricular noncompaction; prognosis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cardiomyopathies* / diagnostic imaging
  • Child
  • Diagnostic Imaging
  • Heart Diseases*
  • Heart Ventricles / diagnostic imaging
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Isolated Noncompaction of the Ventricular Myocardium* / diagnostic imaging
  • Isolated Noncompaction of the Ventricular Myocardium* / therapy
  • Myocardium
  • Predictive Value of Tests