Electrical and Structural Substrate of Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy Determined Using Noninvasive Electrocardiographic Imaging and Late Gadolinium Magnetic Resonance Imaging

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Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a significant cause of sudden cardiac death in the young. Improved noninvasive assessment of ARVC and better understanding of the disease substrate are important for improving patient outcomes.

Methods and Results—

We studied 20 genotyped ARVC patients with a broad spectrum of disease using electrocardiographic imaging (a method for noninvasive cardiac electrophysiology mapping) and advanced late gadolinium enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance scar imaging. Compared with 20 healthy controls, ARVC patients had longer ventricular activation duration (median, 52 versus 42 ms; P=0.007) and prolonged mean epicardial activation-recovery intervals (a surrogate for local action potential duration; median, 275 versus 241 ms; P=0.014). In these patients, we observed abnormal and varied epicardial activation breakthrough locations and regions of nonuniform conduction and fractionated electrograms. Nonuniform conduction and fractionated electrograms were present in the early concealed phase of ARVC. Electrophysiological abnormalities colocalized with late gadolinium enhancement scar, indicating a relationship with structural disease. Premature ventricular contractions were common in ARVC patients with variable initiation sites in both ventricles. Premature ventricular contraction rate increased with exercise, and within anatomic segments, it correlated with prolonged repolarization, electric markers of scar, and late gadolinium enhancement (all P<0.001).


Electrocardiographic imaging reveals electrophysiological substrate properties that differ in ARVC patients compared with healthy controls. A novel mechanistic finding is the presence of repolarization abnormalities in regions where ventricular ectopy originates. The results suggest a potential role for electrocardiographic imaging and late gadolinium enhancement in early diagnosis and noninvasive follow-up of ARVC patients.

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