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Eur J Heart Fail. 2009 Jan;11(1):106-9. doi: 10.1093/eurjhf/hfn014.

Right ventricular cardiomyopathy: timing of heart transplantation in Uhl's anomaly and arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

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  • 1Department of Emergency and Cardiovascular Medicine, Institute of Medicine, Sahlgrenska Academy, Göteborg University, Gothenburg 41685, Sweden. thomas.gilljam@vgregion.se


Transplant indications for right ventricular (RV) cardiomyopathy have not been defined. We report on two boys, aged 18 and 17 years, one with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) and one with Uhl's anomaly. Both had implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) for the prevention of sudden death (SD), but were not considered urgent heart transplant candidates due to the absence of heart failure symptoms. A ventricular tachycardia-induced cardiac collapse occurred at school in the Uhl patient and in hospital in the ARVC patient. In both patients, ICD shocks intermittently restored sinus rhythm but with inadequate circulation. Only the ARVC patient received early chest compressions and was saved to heart transplantation. Due to RV failure, both patients had evidence of Fontan-type physiology, in whom pulmonary blood flow is passive and propelled by the transpulmonary pressure gradient and intrathoracic pressure alterations produced by breathing. In these cases, at resuscitation, systemic circulation is not established until after pulmonary blood flow is restored by breathing or chest compressions. An ICD alone is therefore not sufficient for the prevention of SD. When invasive data show evidence of Fontan-type circulation, the patient may be considered for heart transplantation.

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