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Spin-echo nuclear magnetic resonance for tissue characterisation in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.
  1. L. Menghetti,
  2. C. Basso,
  3. A. Nava,
  4. A. Angelini,
  5. G. Thiene
  1. CMSR, Vicenza, Italy.


    OBJECTIVE: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a myocardial disorder characterised clinically by ventricular arrhythmias that can cause cardiac arrest and morphologically by fatty or fibro-fatty myocardial atrophy of the right ventricle. In vivo tissue characterisation without endomyocardial biopsy would be useful. The aim of this study was to investigate the diagnostic accuracy of spin-echo nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) for tissue characterisation in ARVC. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty three subjects (15 men and eight women, aged 18-49, mean 34) were studied with spin-echo T1-weighted NMR and multislice scan. Fifteen had a clinical diagnosis of ARVC and eight were controls (age and sex matched subjects). Data were independently evaluated by two expert observers. RESULTS: In the control group NMR was always negative (100% specificity). Ten of the 15 patients with ARVC had an abnormal NMR result (67% sensitivity), with areas that had a signal intensity close to that of pericardial or subcutaneous fat. In the remaining five cases the NMR signal was inadequate. Nine patients underwent both NMR and endomyocardial biopsy; biopsy was positive in eight (89%) and NMR was positive in five (56%). CONCLUSIONS: NMR is a useful non-invasive diagnostic tool in the evaluation of fatty replacement in ARVC. The technique can be used with other procedures in the initial diagnostic evaluation and is a useful alternative tool in the long term follow up of patients with ARVC.

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