Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of echocardiographic deformation imaging in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) to optimize family screening protocols. Background: ARVC is characterized by variable disease expressivity among family members, which complicates family screening protocols. Previous reports have shown that echocardiographic deformation imaging detects abnormal right ventricular (RV) deformation in the absence of established disease expression in ARVC. Methods: First-degree relatives of patients with ARVC were evaluated according to 2010 task force criteria, including RV deformation imaging (n = 128). Relatives fulfilling structural task force criteria were excluded for further analysis. At baseline, deformation patterns of the subtricuspid region were scored as type I (normal deformation), type II (delayed onset, decreased systolic peak, and post-systolic shortening), or type III (systolic stretching and large post-systolic shortening). The final study population comprised relatives who underwent a second evaluation during follow-up. Disease progression was defined as the development of a new 2010 task force criterion during follow-up that was absent at baseline. Results: Sixty-five relatives underwent a second evaluation after a mean follow-up period of 3.7 ± 2.1 years. At baseline, 28 relatives (43%) had normal deformation (type I), and 37 relatives (57%) had abnormal deformation (type II or III) in the subtricuspid region. Disease progression occurred in 4% of the relatives with normal deformation at baseline and in 43% of the relatives with abnormal deformation at baseline (p < 0.001). Positive and negative predictive values of abnormal deformation were, respectively, 43% (95% confidence interval: 27% to 61%) and 96% (95% confidence interval: 82% to 100%). Conclusions: Normal RV deformation in the subtricuspid region is associated with absence of disease progression during nearly 4-year follow-up in relatives of patients with ARVC. Abnormal RV deformation seems to precede the established signs of ARVC. RV deformation imaging may potentially play an important role in ARVC family screening protocols.
- arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy
- deformation imaging
- disease progression
- family screening
- strain imaging