Article Text

Download PDFPDF
Multimodality imaging for the diagnosis of infiltrative cardiomyopathies
  1. Mahesh K Vidula1,
  2. Paco E Bravo2
  1. 1 Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  2. 2 Radiology and Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA
  1. Correspondence to Dr Paco E Bravo, Radiology and Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA; Paco.Bravo{at}


Infiltrative cardiomyopathies result from the deposition or anomalous storage of specific substances in the heart, leading to impaired cardiac function and heart failure. In this review, we describe the utility of a variety of imaging modalities for the diagnosis of infiltrative cardiomyopathies and provide algorithms for clinicians to use to evaluate patients with these disorders. We have divided infiltrative cardiomyopathies into two different categories: (1) infiltrative cardiomyopathies characterised by increased wall thickness (eg, cardiac amyloidosis and Anderson-Fabry disease (AFD)) and (2) infiltrative cardiomyopathies that can mimic ischaemic or dilated cardiomyopathies (eg, cardiac sarcoidosis (CS) and iron overload cardiomyopathy). Echocardiography is the first modality of choice for the evaluation of cardiomyopathies in either category, and the differential can be narrowed using cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) and nuclear imaging techniques. The diagnosis of cardiac amyloidosis is supported with key findings seen on echocardiography, CMR and nuclear imaging, whereas AFD can be suggested by unique features on CMR. CMR and nuclear imaging are also important modalities for the diagnosis of CS, while iron overload cardiomyopathy is mostly diagnosed using tissue characterisation on CMR. Overall, multimodality imaging is necessary for the accurate non-invasive diagnosis of infiltrative cardiomyopathies, which is important to ensure appropriate treatment and prognostication.

  • echocardiography
  • MRI
  • positron emission tomography CT
  • tomography
  • emission-computed
  • single-photon
  • cardiomyopathies

Statistics from

Request Permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.


  • Contributors All authors contributed substantially to the conception, drafting and completion of the present work.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

  • Supplemental material This content has been supplied by the author(s). It has not been vetted by BMJ Publishing Group Limited (BMJ) and may not have been peer-reviewed. Any opinions or recommendations discussed are solely those of the author(s) and are not endorsed by BMJ. BMJ disclaims all liability and responsibility arising from any reliance placed on the content. Where the content includes any translated material, BMJ does not warrant the accuracy and reliability of the translations (including but not limited to local regulations, clinical guidelines, terminology, drug names and drug dosages), and is not responsible for any error and/or omissions arising from translation and adaptation or otherwise.