Late gadolinium enhancement among survivors of sudden cardiac arrest

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Objectives The aim of this study was to describe the role of contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) in the workup of patients with aborted sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) and in the prediction of long-term outcomes. Background Myocardial fibrosis is a key substrate for SCA, and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) on a CMR study is a robust technique for imaging of myocardial fibrosis. Methods We performed a retrospective review of all survivors of SCA who were referred for CMR studies and performed follow-up for the subsequent occurrence of an adverse event (death and appropriate defibrillator therapy). Results After a workup that included a clinical history, electrocardiogram, echocardiography, and coronary angiogram, 137 patients underwent CMR for workup of aborted SCA (66% male; mean age 56 ± 11 years; left ventricular ejection fraction 43 ± 12%). The presenting arrhythmias were ventricular fibrillation (n = 105 [77%]) and ventricular tachycardia (n = 32 [23%]). Overall, LGE was found in 98 patients (71%), with an average extent of 9.9 ± 5% of the left ventricular myocardium. CMR imaging provided a diagnosis or an arrhythmic substrate in 104 patients (76%), including the presence of an infarct-pattern LGE in 60 patients (44%), noninfarct LGE in 21 (15%), active myocarditis in 14 (10%), hypertrophic cardiomyopathy in 3 (2%), sarcoidosis in 3, and arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy in 3. In a median follow-up of 29 months (range 18 to 43 months), there were 63 events. In a multivariable analysis, the strongest predictors of recurrent events were the presence of LGE (adjusted hazard ratio: 6.7; 95% CI: 2.38 to 18.85; p < 0.001) and the extent of LGE (hazard ratio: 1.15; 95% CI: 1.11 to 1.19; p < 0.001). Conclusions Among patients with SCA, CMR with contrast identified LGE in 71% and provided a potential arrhythmic substrate in 76%. In follow-up, both the presence and extent of LGE identified a group at markedly increased risk of future adverse events.




Neilan, T. G., Farhad, H., Mayrhofer, T., Shah, R. V., Dodson, J. A., Abbasi, S. A., … Kwong, R. Y. (2015). Late gadolinium enhancement among survivors of sudden cardiac arrest. JACC: Cardiovascular Imaging, 8(4), 414–423.

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