Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy in Children: Prognostic Indicators and Outcome

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During a mean (+/- SD) follow-up of 3.9 +/- 4.5 years (range, 1 day to 25 years), 10 patients (16%) recovered, 17 (27%) had residual disease, 4 (6.4%) underwent heart transplantation, and 31 (50%) died. Infants (<1 year of age) and adolescent (> or = to 15 years of age) male patients with progressing symptoms of left ventricular failure after initiation of medical therapy tended to have the poorest outcome. However, in multivariate analysis, only histologic evidence of endocardial fibroelastosis, clinical signs of right ventricular failure at presentation, and the need for anticoagulative therapy during follow-up, the last an expression of a severely impaired left ventricular systolic function, appeared to be significant predictors of long-term outcome.


Our study confirms that the outcome of children with IDCM still remains poor. However, a group of patients, mainly infants, make a full recovery. Adolescent male patients as well as infants suffering from endocardial fibroelastosis with persisting symptoms of congestive heart failure after initiation of medical therapy tend to have the poorest outcome. These patients need a careful follow-up at short time intervals and, in the case of lacking response to medical treatment with resulting growth failure and/or poor quality of life, should be offered urgent heart transplantation. Pediatrics 1998;101:369-376.

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