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Korean Circ J. 2010 Aug;40(8):357-67. doi: 10.4070/kcj.2010.40.8.357. Epub 2010 Aug 31.

Magnetic resonance imaging assessment of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia in children.

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  • 1Department of Diagnostic Imaging, The Hospital for Sick Children and Research Institute, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.


Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D) is a genetically determined disease that progresses continuously from conception and throughout life. ARVC/D manifests predominantly in young adulthood. Early identification of the concealed cases in childhood is of utmost importance for the prevention of sudden cardiac death later in life. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is routinely requested in patients with a confirmed or suspected diagnosis of ARVC/D and in family members of the patients with ARVC/D. Although the utility of MRI in the assessment of ARVC/D is well recognized in adults, MRI is a low-yield test in children as the anatomical, histological, and functional changes are frequently subtle or not present in the early phase of the disease. MRI findings of ARVC/D include morphologic changes such as right ventricular dilatation, wall thinning, and aneurismal outpouchings, as well as abnormal tissue characteristics such as myocardial fibrosis and fatty infiltration, and functional abnormalities such as global ventricular dysfunction and regional wall motion abnormalities. Among these findings, regional wall motion abnormalities are the most reliable MRI findings both in children and adults, while myocardial fibrosis and fat infiltration are rarely seen in children. Therefore, an MRI protocol should be tailored according to the patient's age and compliance, as well as the presence of other findings, instead of using the protocol that is used for adults. We propose that MRI in children with ARVC/D should focus on the detection of regional wall motion abnormalities and global ventricular function by using a cine imaging sequence and that the sequences for myocardial fat and late gadolinium enhancement of the myocardium are reserved for those who show abnormal findings at cine imaging. Importantly, MRI should be performed and interpreted by experienced examiners to reduce the number of false positive and false negative readings.


Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia; Children; Magnetic resonance imaging

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