Background: It is apparent that despite lack of family history, patients with the morphological characteristics of left ventricular non-compaction develop arrhythmias, thrombo-embolism and left ventricular dysfunction. METHODS: Forty two patients, aged 48.7 +/- 2.3 yrs (mean +/- SEM) underwent cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) for the quantification of left ventricular volumes and extent of non-compacted (NC) myocardium. The latter was quantified using planimetry on the two-chamber long axis LV view (NC area). The patients included those referred specifically for CMR to investigate suspected cardiomyopathy, and as such is represents a selected group of patients. RESULTS: At presentation, 50% had dyspnoea, 19% chest pain, 14% palpitations and 5% stroke. Pulmonary embolism had occurred in 7% and brachial artery embolism in 2%. The ECG was abnormal in 81% and atrial fibrillation occurred in 29%. Transthoracic echocardiograms showed features of NC in only 10%. On CMR, patients who presented with dyspnoea had greater left ventricular volumes (both p < 0.0001) and a lower left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) (p < 0.0001) than age-matched, healthy controls. In patients without dyspnoea (n = 21), NC area correlated positively with end-diastolic volume (r = 0.52, p = 0.0184) and end-systolic volume (r = 0.56, p = 0.0095), and negatively with EF (r = -0.72, p = 0.0001). CONCLUSION: Left ventricular non-compaction is associated with dysrrhythmias, thromboembolic events, chest pain and LV dysfunction. The inverse correlation between NC area and EF suggests that NC contributes to left ventricular dysfunction
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