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Am J Cardiol. 1992 Jun 1;69(17):1458-66.

Prevalence and etiology of idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (summary of a National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute workshop.

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Division of Epidemiology and Clinical Applications, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) is the primary indication for cardiac transplantation, with associated costs of approximately $177 million per year. Recognizing the economic implications of IDC, the increasing incidence, and the limited information on pathogenesis and prognosis, the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute convened a workshop on the Prevalence and Etiology of Idiopathic Dilated Cardiomyopathy on June 13 to 14, 1991. The difficulties of studying the disease were reviewed, including its relatively low prevalence, its potentially pluricausal nature, and the fact that it is often a diagnosis of exclusion. Still, it presents significant challenges to the cardiovascular scientific community, since the mechanism of myocardial damage and related etiologic and prognostic factors are virtually unknown. The development of more reliable measures of immune-mediated damage and noninvasive measures of impaired cardiac function present new research opportunities in this disorder. Standardized diagnostic criteria for use in observational and interventional trials were developed, and priorities for future research were proposed. Population-based registries and nested case-control studies, where feasible, are appropriate study designs for tracking incidence and prevalence, and for identifying risk factors, respectively. Interventional studies should focus on secondary prevention, through modifying immune-mediated damage in clinically evident dilated cardiomyopathy, and through prevention of sudden death in patients with the disorder. Primary prevention trials must await the identification of modifiable risk factors and of appropriate and effective interventions.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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