Background: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia (ARVD) is characterized by local or diffuse wall motion abnormalities in the right ventricle (RV), associated with recurrent ventricular tachycardia (VT) of RV origin. Brain natriuretic peptide (BNP) was first isolated from a porcine brain extract. In humans, BNP is expressed predominantly in the ventricles of failing hearts, and its expression has been observed primarily in myocytes in the interstitial fibrous area in dilated cardiomyopathy. We hypothesized that BNP is increasingly secreted from the residual myocytes within the atrophic tissue in patients with ARVD.
Methods and results: Plasma BNP levels were measured in 17 patients with ARVD, 12 patients with idiopathic RV outflow tract tachycardia (RVOT), and 120 control subjects. We performed cardiac catheterization, RV endomyocardial biopsy, electron- beam CT, and biventricular endomyocardial mapping in the ARVD patients. There was a significant increase in plasma BNP levels in the ARVD patients compared with the RVOT patients and control subjects (61.4+/-59.6 pg/mL versus 8.3+/-5. 5 pg/mL and 9.3+/-5.8 pg/mL; P<0.0001, respectively). The plasma BNP levels had no correlation with any of the hemodynamic data, but they had a significant correlation with the RV ejection fraction (r=-0. 588, P=0.025) and with the fractionated-area scores (r=0.705, P=0. 005). Light microscopic immunohistochemistry showed strong BNP immunoreactivity in residual myocytes with fibrofatty replacement.
Conclusions: These results suggest that plasma BNP levels were not increased in RVOT patients but were increased in ARVD patients, and that the increased BNP levels indicate the severity of both the RV dysfunction and the arrhythmogenic substrate.