BACKGROUND: Myotonic dystrophy type 1 (DM1) is associated with increased cardiac morbidity and mortality. Therefore, assessment of cardiac involvement and risk stratification for sudden cardiac death is crucial. Nevertheless, optimal screening-procedures are not clearly defined. ECG, echocardiography and Holter-monitoring are useful but insufficient. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) can provide additional information of which myocardial fibrosis may be relevant. The purpose of this study was to describe the prevalence of myocardial fibrosis in patients with DM1 assessed by CMR, and the association between myocardial fibrosis and abnormal findings on ECG, Holter-monitoring and echocardiography. METHODS: We selected 30 unrelated patients with DM1: 18 patients (10 men, mean age 51 years) with, and 12 patients (7 men, mean age 41 years) without abnormal findings on ECG and Holter-monitoring. Patients were evaluated with medical history, physical examination, ECG, Holter-monitoring, echocardiography and CMR. RESULTS: Myocardial fibrosis was found in 12/30 (40%, 9 men). The presence of myocardial fibrosis was associated with the following CMR-parameters: increased left ventricular mass (median (range) 55 g/m(2) (43-83) vs. 46 g/m(2) (36-64), p = 0.02), increased left atrial volume (median (range) 52 ml/m(2) (36-87) vs. 46 ml/m(2) (35-69), p = 0.04) and a trend toward lower LVEF (median (range) 63% (38-71) vs. 66% (60-80), p = 0.06). Overall, we found no association between the presence of myocardial fibrosis and abnormal findings on: ECG (p = 0.71), Holter-monitoring (p = 0.27) or echocardiographic measurements of left ventricular volumes, ejection fraction or global longitudinal strain (p = 0.18). CONCLUSION: Patients with DM1 had a high prevalence of myocardial fibrosis which was not predicted by ECG, Holter-monitoring or echocardiography. CMR add additional information to current standard cardiac assessment and may prove to be a clinically valuable tool for risk stratification in DM1.
Journal of Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance, 2014, Vol 16, Issue 1, p. 1-10