IMR Press / RCM / Volume 23 / Issue 8 / DOI: 10.31083/j.rcm2308283
Open Access Original Research
The Challenges of Diagnosis and Treatment of Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: Are We there yet?
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1 IRCCS Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Bologna, 40138 Bologna, Italy
2 Department of Experimental, Diagnostic and Specialty Medicine, 40138 Bologna, Italy
*Correspondence: (Mauro Biffi)
Academic Editor: Yoshiaki Kaneko
Rev. Cardiovasc. Med. 2022, 23(8), 283;
Submitted: 11 April 2022 | Revised: 15 June 2022 | Accepted: 4 July 2022 | Published: 15 August 2022
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Clinical Electrophysiology: Diagnosis and Treatment)
Copyright: © 2022 The Author(s). Published by IMR Press.
This is an open access article under the CC BY 4.0 license.

Background: we sought to review the evolution in the diagnosis and treatment of Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy (ACM), a clinically multifaceted entity beyond the observation of ventricular arrhythmias, and the outcome of therapies aiming at sudden death prevention in a single center experience. Methods: retrospective analysis of the data of consecutive patients with an implanted cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) and a confirmed diagnosis of ACM according to the proposed Padua Criteria, who were referred to our center from January 1992 to October 2021. Results: we enrolled 72 patients (66% males, mean age at implant 46 ± 16 years), 63.9% implanted for primary prevention. At the time of ICD implant, 29 (40.3%) patients had a right ventricular involvement, 24 (33.3%) had a dominant LV involvement and 19 (26.4%) had a biventricular involvement. After a median follow-up of 6,1 years [IQR: 2.5–9.9], 34 patients (47.2%) had 919 sustained episodes of ventricular arrhythmias (VA). 27 patients (37.5%) had 314 episodes of life-threatening arrhythmias (LT-VA), defined as sustained ventricular tachycardia 200 beats/min. Considering only the patients with an ICD capable of delivering ATP, 80.4% of VA and 65% of LT-VA were successfully terminated with ATP. 16 (22.2%) patients had an inappropriate ICD activation, mostly caused by atrial fibrillation, while in 9 patients (12.5%) there was a complication needing reintervention (in 3 cases there was a loss of ventricular sensing dictating lead revision). During the follow-up 11 (15.3%) patients died, most of them due to heart failure, and 8 (11.1%) underwent heart transplantation. Conclusions: ACM is increasingly diagnosed owing to heightened suspicion at ECG examination and to improved imaging technology and availability, though the diagnostic workflow is particularly challenging in the earliest disease stages. ICD therapy is the cornerstone of sudden death prevention, albeit its efficacy is not based on controlled studies, and VT ablation/medical therapy are complementary to this strategy. The high burden of ATP-terminated VA makes shock-only devices debatable. The progressive nature of ACM leads to severe biventricular enlargement and refractory heart failure, which pose significant treatment issues when a predominant RV dysfunction occurs owing to the reduced possibility for mechanical circulatory assistance.

arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
ICD therapy
RC-2022-2773409/Italian Ministry of Health
Fig. 1.
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