It is unclear whether the myocardium undergoes accelerated fibrotic remodeling in children after heart transplantation (HTx).Methods
In this prospective study, cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) studies in 17 patients 1.3 years (median, range 0.03-12.6 years) after HTx (mean age, 9.8 ± 6.2 years; 8 girls) were compared to CMR studies in 9 healthy controls (mean age, 12.4 ± 2.4 years; 4 girls). T1 measurements were performed at a midventricular short axis slice before (ie, native T1 times) and after the application of 0.2 mmol/kg gadopentetate dimeglumine in the interventricular septum, left ventricular (LV) free wall and encompassing the entire LV myocardium. The tissue-blood partition coefficient (TBPC), reflecting the degree of diffuse myocardial fibrosis, was calculated as a function of the ratio of T1 change of myocardium compared to blood. Native T1 times and TBPC were correlated with echocardiographic parameters of diastolic function.Results
Native T1 times were significantly higher in HTx patients compared to controls in all regions assessed (LV free wall 973 ± 42 vs 923 ± 12 ms; P < 0.005; interventricular septum 1003 ± 31 vs 974 ± 21 ms, P < 0.05; entire LV myocardium 987 ± 33 vs 951 ± 16 ms; P < 0.005) and correlated with LV E/e' as an echocardiographic marker of diastolic dysfunction (r = 0.54, P < 0.05). The TBPC was elevated in the LV free wall (0.45 ± 0.06 vs 0.40 ± 0.03, P < 0.005) and the entire LV myocardium (0.47 ± 0.06 vs 0.43 ± 0.03, P < 0.05).Conclusions
Evidence of diffuse myocardial fibrosis and is already present in children after HTx. It appears to be associated with diastolic dysfunction.