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Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia

, 1 , 1 , 1

Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases

BioMed Central

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      Abstract

      Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D) is a heart muscle disease clinically characterized by life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias. Its prevalence has been estimated to vary from 1:2,500 to 1:5,000. ARVC/D is a major cause of sudden death in the young and athletes. The pathology consists of a genetically determined dystrophy of the right ventricular myocardium with fibro-fatty replacement to such an extent that it leads to right ventricular aneurysms. The clinical picture may include: a subclinical phase without symptoms and with ventricular fibrillation being the first presentation; an electrical disorder with palpitations and syncope, due to tachyarrhythmias of right ventricular origin; right ventricular or biventricular pump failure, so severe as to require transplantation. The causative genes encode proteins of mechanical cell junctions (plakoglobin, plakophilin, desmoglein, desmocollin, desmoplakin) and account for intercalated disk remodeling. Familiar occurrence with an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance and variable penetrance has been proven. Recessive variants associated with palmoplantar keratoderma and woolly hair have been also reported. Clinical diagnosis may be achieved by demonstrating functional and structural alterations of the right ventricle, depolarization and repolarization abnormalities, arrhythmias with the left bundle branch block morphology and fibro-fatty replacement through endomyocardial biopsy. Two dimensional echo, angiography and magnetic resonance are the imaging tools for visualizing structural-functional abnormalities. Electroanatomic mapping is able to detect areas of low voltage corresponding to myocardial atrophy with fibro-fatty replacement. The main differential diagnoses are idiopathic right ventricular outflow tract tachycardia, myocarditis, dialted cardiomyopathy and sarcoidosis. Only palliative therapy is available and consists of antiarrhythmic drugs, catheter ablation and implantable cardioverter defibrillator. Young age, family history of juvenile sudden death, QRS dispersion ≥ 40 ms, T-wave inversion, left ventricular involvement, ventricular tachycardia, syncope and previous cardiac arrest are the major risk factors for adverse prognosis. Preparticipation screening for sport eligibility has been proven to be effective in detecting asymptomatic patients and sport disqualification has been life-saving, substantially declining sudden death in young athletes.

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      Most cited references 79

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      Report of the 1995 World Health Organization/International Society and Federation of Cardiology Task Force on the Definition and Classification of cardiomyopathies.

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        Trends in sudden cardiovascular death in young competitive athletes after implementation of a preparticipation screening program.

        A nationwide systematic preparticipation athletic screening was introduced in Italy in 1982. The impact of such a program on prevention of sudden cardiovascular death in the athlete remains to be determined. To analyze trends in incidence rates and cardiovascular causes of sudden death in young competitive athletes in relation to preparticipation screening. A population-based study of trends in sudden cardiovascular death in athletic and nonathletic populations aged 12 to 35 years in the Veneto region of Italy between 1979 and 2004. A parallel study examined trends in cardiovascular causes of disqualification from competitive sports in 42,386 athletes undergoing preparticipation screening at the Center for Sports Medicine in Padua (22,312 in the early screening period [1982-1992] and 20,074 in the late screening period [1993-2004]). Incidence trends of total cardiovascular and cause-specific sudden death in screened athletes and unscreened nonathletes of the same age range over a 26-year period. During the study period, 55 sudden cardiovascular deaths occurred in screened athletes (1.9 deaths/100,000 person-years) and 265 sudden deaths in unscreened nonathletes (0.79 deaths/100,000 person-years). The annual incidence of sudden cardiovascular death in athletes decreased by 89% (from 3.6/100,000 person-years in 1979-1980 to 0.4/100,000 person-years in 2003-2004; P for trend < .001), whereas the incidence of sudden death among the unscreened nonathletic population did not change significantly. The mortality decline started after mandatory screening was implemented and persisted to the late screening period. Compared with the prescreening period (1979-1981), the relative risk of sudden cardiovascular death in athletes was 0.56 in the early screening period (95% CI, 0.29-1.15; P = .04) and 0.21 in the late screening period (95% CI, 0.09-0.48; P = .001). Most of the reduced mortality was due to fewer cases of sudden death from cardiomyopathies (from 1.50/100,000 person-years in the prescreening period to 0.15/100,000 person-years in the late screening period; P for trend = .002). During the study period, 879 athletes (2.0%) were disqualified from competition due to cardiovascular causes at the Center for Sports Medicine: 455 (2.0%) in the early screening period and 424 (2.1%) in the late screening period. The proportion of athletes who were disqualified for cardiomyopathies increased from 20 (4.4%) of 455 in the early screening period to 40 (9.4%) of 424 in the late screening period (P = .005). The incidence of sudden cardiovascular death in young competitive athletes has substantially declined in the Veneto region of Italy since the introduction of a nationwide systematic screening. Mortality reduction was predominantly due to a lower incidence of sudden death from cardiomyopathies that paralleled the increasing identification of athletes with cardiomyopathies at preparticipation screening.
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          Mutations in the cardiac ryanodine receptor gene (hRyR2) underlie catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.

          Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia is a genetic arrhythmogenic disorder characterized by stress-induced, bidirectional ventricular tachycardia that may degenerate into cardiac arrest and cause sudden death. The electrocardiographic pattern of this ventricular tachycardia closely resembles the arrhythmias associated with calcium overload and the delayed afterdepolarizations observed during digitalis toxicity. We speculated that a genetically determined abnormality of intracellular calcium handling might be the substrate of the disease; therefore, we considered the human cardiac ryanodine receptor gene (hRyR2) a likely candidate for this genetically transmitted arrhythmic disorder. Twelve patients presenting with typical catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia in the absence of structural heart abnormalities were identified. DNA was extracted from peripheral blood lymphocytes, and single-strand conformation polymorphism analysis was performed on polymerase chain reaction-amplified exons of the hRyR2 gene. Four single nucleotide substitutions leading to missense mutations were identified in 4 probands affected by the disease. Genetic analysis of the asymptomatic parents revealed that 3 probands carried de novo mutations. In 1 case, the identical twin of the proband died suddenly after having suffered syncopal episodes. The fourth mutation was identified in the proband, in 4 clinically affected family members, and in none of 3 nonaffected family members in a kindred with 2 sudden deaths that occurred at 16 and 14 years, respectively, in the sisters of the proband. We demonstrated that, in agreement with our hypothesis, hRyR2 is a gene responsible for catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.
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            Author and article information

            Affiliations
            [1 ]Pathological Anatomy, Department of Medical-Diagnostic Sciences and Special Therapies, University of Padua Medical School, Padua, Italy
            Contributors
            Journal
            Orphanet J Rare Dis
            Orphanet Journal of Rare Diseases
            BioMed Central
            1750-1172
            2007
            14 November 2007
            : 2
            : 45
            2222049
            1750-1172-2-45
            18001465
            10.1186/1750-1172-2-45
            Copyright © 2007 Thiene et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

            This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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            Review

            Infectious disease & Microbiology

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