Prognostic significance of nonischaemic myocardial fibrosis in patients with normal left ventricular volumes and ejection-fraction

Amrit S. Lota, Adam Tsao, Ruth Owen, Brian P. Halliday, Dominique Auger, Vassilios S. Vassiliou, Upasana Tayal, Batool Almogheer, Silvia Vilches, Amer Al-Balah, Akhil Patel, Florence Mouy, Rachel Buchan, Simon Newsome, John Gregson, James S. Ware, Stuart A. Cook, John G. F. Cleland, Dudley J. Pennell, Sanjay K. Prasad

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Objectives: This study aims to investigate the prognostic significance of late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) in patients without coronary artery disease and with normal range left ventricular (LV) volumes and ejection fraction. Background: Nonischemic patterns of LGE with normal LV volumes and ejection fraction are increasingly detected on cardiovascular magnetic resonance, but their prognostic significance, and consequently management, is uncertain. Methods: Patients with midwall/subepicardial LGE and normal LV volumes, wall thickness, and ejection fraction on cardiovascular magnetic resonance were enrolled and compared to a control group without LGE. The primary outcome was actual or aborted sudden cardiac death (SCD). Results: Of 748 patients enrolled, 401 had LGE and 347 did not. The median age was 50 years (interquartile range: 38-61 years), LV ejection fraction 66% (interquartile range: 62%-70%), and 287 (38%) were women. Scan indications included chest pain (40%), palpitation (33%) and breathlessness (13%). No patient experienced SCD and only 1 LGE+ patient (0.13%) had an aborted SCD in the 11th follow-up year. Over a median of 4.3 years, 30 patients (4.0%) died. All-cause mortality was similar for LGE+/- patients (3.7% vs 4.3%; P = 0.71) and was associated with age (HR: 2.04 per 10 years; 95% CI: 1.46-2.79; P < 0.001). Twenty-one LGE+ and 4 LGE- patients had an unplanned cardiovascular hospital admission (HR: 7.22; 95% CI: 4.26-21.17; P < 0.0001). Conclusions: There was a low SCD risk during long-term follow-up in patients with LGE but otherwise normal LV volumes and ejection fraction. Mortality was driven by age and not LGE presence, location, or extent, although the latter was associated with greater cardiovascular hospitalization for suspected myocarditis and symptomatic ventricular tachycardia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2353-2365
Number of pages13
JournalJACC: Cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number12
Early online date14 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • cardiovascular magnetic resonance
  • late gadolinium enhancement
  • myocardial fibrosis
  • myocarditis
  • sudden cardiac death

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