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Echocardiographic assessment of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy


OBJECTIVE To evaluate new echocardiographic modes in the diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

DESIGN Prospective observational study.

SETTING University Hospital.

SUBJECTS 15 patients with ARVC and a control group of 25 healthy subjects.

METHODS Transthoracic echocardiography included cross sectional measurements of the right ventricular outflow tract, right ventricular inflow tract, and right ventricular body. Wall motion was analysed subjectively. M mode and pulsed tissue Doppler techniques were used for quantitative measurement of tricuspid annular motion at the lateral, septal, posterior, and anterior positions. Doppler assessment of tricuspid flow and systemic venous flow was also performed.

RESULTS Assessed by M mode, the total amplitude of the tricuspid annular motion was significantly decreased in the lateral, septal, and posterior positions in the patients compared with the controls. The tissue Doppler velocity pattern showed decreased early diastolic peak annular (EA) velocity and an accompanying decrease in early (EA) to late diastolic (AA) velocity ratio in all positions; the systolic annular velocity was significantly decreased only in the lateral position. Four patients had normal right ventricular dimensions and three were judged to have normal right ventricular wall motion. The patient group had also a significantly decreased tricuspid flow E:A ratio.

CONCLUSIONS Tricuspid annular measurements are valuable, easy to obtain, and allow quantitative assessment of right ventricular function. ARVC patients showed an abnormal velocity pattern that may be an early but non-specific sign of the disease. Normal right ventricular dimensions do not exclude ARVC, and subjective detection of early changes in wall motion may be difficult.

  • annular motion
  • diastolic dysfunction
  • right ventricular function
  • tissue Doppler

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