Misdiagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy

Chandra Bomma, Julie Rutberg, Harikrishna Tandri, Khurram Nasir, Ariel Roguin, Crystal Tichnell, Rene Rodriguez, Cynthia James, Edward Kasper, Philip Spevak, David A. Bluemke, Hugh Calkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

171 Scopus citations


Introduction: Diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) has major implications for the management of patients and their first-degree relatives. Diagnosis is based on a set of criteria proposed by the International Task Force for Cardiomyopathies. We report our experience in providing a re-evaluation for patients who previously have been diagnosed with ARVD/C. Methods and Results: We studied 89 patients who requested a re-evaluation for diagnosis of ARVD/C at our center. Each of these patients had been diagnosed with ARVD/C at their initial evaluation. Each patient was re-evaluated with clinical history, physical examination, and noninvasive testing at our center. Invasive testing, which included electrophysiologic testing, right ventricular angiography, and endomyocardial biopsy, was performed when clinically indicated. Sixty (92%) of the 65 patients who had undergone magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at an outside institution were reported to have an abnormal MRI consistent with ARVD/C. Among these patients, the only abnormality identified was the qualitative finding of intramyocardial fat/wall thinning in 46 patients. On re-evaluation, these qualitative findings were not confirmed. None of these 46 patients ultimately were diagnosed with ARVD/C. Among the entire patient group, only 24 (27%) of the 89 patients met the Task Force criteria for ARVD/C. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that the high frequency of "misdiagnosis" of ARVD/C is due to over-reliance on the presence of intramyocardial fat/wall thinning on MRI, incomplete diagnostic testing, and lack of awareness of the Task Force criteria. Diagnosis of ARVD/C cannot rely solely upon qualitative features on MRI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)300-306
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Electrophysiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2004


  • Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Signal-averaged electrocardiography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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