Scar size and characteristics assessed by CMR predict ventricular arrhythmias in ischaemic cardiomyopathy: comparison of previously validated models

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Sudden cardiac death is a major cause of mortality in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Risk stratification remains challenging. Currently, there is growing interest in scar characteristic assessment as a predictor of sudden cardiac death using cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (CMR). Standard analysis methods are lacking. The present study evaluated previously validated methods of scar assessment by CMR with late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in their ability to predict ventricular tachyarrhythmias.


Patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy who received an implantable cardioverter defibrillator for primary prevention and in whom a LGE–CMR was performed, were included. Scar core size, peri-infarct zone and total scar size, which is defined as the sum of the core size and peri-infarct zone, were assessed using three previously validated models, and their ability to predict ventricular tachyarrhythmias was evaluated.


Fifty-five patients were included (mean age 64.6±10.8 years, 43 men). During a median follow-up of 2.0 years (IQR 1.0–3.0 years) 26% of patients reached the endpoint of ventricular tachyarrhythmia. All scar characteristics (ie, total scar size, scar core size and peri-infarct zone) of the three methods were predictors of the endpoint (p<0.01). Total scar size was comparable, whereas scar core size and peri-infarct zone varied significantly between the tested models. Receiver operating characteristic curves of the different scar characteristics showed comparable areas under the curve varying from 0.721 to 0.812.


LGE–CMR-derived scar tissue characteristics are of predictive value for the occurrence of ventricular tachyarrhythmias in patients with ischaemic cardiomyopathy. Additional estimation of scar core size and/or peri-infarct zone does not appear to increase the diagnostic accuracy over total scar size alone.

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