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A novel curl-based rotation measurement built from tensorial magnitudes is proposed.Proposed rotation descriptor makes no assumption about the cardiac topology.Locally increased vorticity values are present in hypertrophied myocardial segments.Extracted vortical features have proven useful in cardiomyopathy discrimination.Left ventricular rotational motion is a feature of normal and diseased cardiac function. However, classical torsion and twist measures rely on the definition of a rotational axis which may not exist. This paper reviews global and local rotation descriptors of myocardial motion and introduces new curl-based (vortical) features built from tensorial magnitudes, intended to provide better comprehension about fibrotic tissue characteristics mechanical properties. Fifty-six cardiomyopathy patients and twenty-two healthy volunteers have been studied using tagged magnetic resonance by means of harmonic phase analysis. Rotation descriptors are built, with no assumption about a regular geometrical model, from different approaches. The extracted vortical features have been tested by means of a sequential cardiomyopathy classification procedure; they have proven useful for the regional characterization of the left ventricular function by showing great separability not only between pathologic and healthy patients but also, and specifically, between heterogeneous phenotypes within cardiomyopathies.