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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2008 Sep;295(3):H1234-H1242. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00429.2008. Epub 2008 Jul 25.

Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging of myocardial contrast uptake and blood flow in patients affected with idiopathic or familial dilated cardiomyopathy.

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Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, Oregon, USA.


Idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (IDC) is characterized by left ventricular (LV) enlargement with systolic dysfunction, other causes excluded. When inherited, it represents familial dilated cardiomyopathy (FDC). We hypothesized that IDC or FDC would show with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) increased myocardial accumulation of gadolinium contrast at steady state and decreased baseline myocardial blood flow (MBF) due to structural alterations of the extracellular matrix compared with normal myocardium. CMR was performed in nine persons affected with IDC/FDC. Healthy controls came from the general population (n = 6) or were unaffected family members of FDC patients (n = 3) without signs or symptoms of IDC/FDC or any structural cardiac abnormalities. The myocardial partition coefficient for gadolinium contrast (lambda(Gd)) was determined by T1 measurements. LV shape and function and MBF were assessed by standard CMR methods. lambda(Gd) was elevated in IDC/FDC patients vs. healthy controls (lambda(Gd) = 0.56 +/- 0.15 vs. 0.41 +/- 0.06; P = 0.002), and correlated with LV enlargement (r = 0.61 for lambda(Gd) vs. end-diastolic volume indexed by height; P < 0.01) and with ejection fraction (r = -0.80; P < 0.001). The extracellular volume fraction was higher in IDC patients than in healthy controls (0.31 +/- 0.05 vs. 0.24 +/- 0.03; P = 0.002). Resting MBF was lower in IDC patients (0.64 +/- 0.13 vs. 0.91 +/- 0.22; P = 0.01) than unaffected controls and correlated with both the partition coefficient (r = -0.57; P = 0.012) and the extracellular volume fraction (r = -0.56; P = 0.019). The expansion of the extracellular space correlated with reduced MBF and ventricular dilation. Expansion of the extracellular matrix may be a key contributor to contractile dysfunction in IDC patients.

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