Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy Presenting as Clinical Myocarditis in Women

Paul J. Scheel, Brittney Murray, Crystal Tichnell, Cynthia A. James, Harikrishna Tandri, Hugh Calkins, Stephen P. Chelko, Nisha A. Gilotra

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11 Scopus citations


Patients with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) classically initially present with ventricular arrhythmias or, less commonly, heart failure. Myocardial inflammation has been implicated in pathogenesis, but clinical myocarditis in ARVC is less described. We therefore studied clinical myocarditis as an initial ARVC presentation, and hypothesized that these patients have distinct clinical and genetic characteristics. Using the Johns Hopkins ARVC Registry, we identified 12 patients (all female, median age 20) referred between 2014 and 2019 diagnosed with myocarditis at presentation who were subsequently diagnosed with ARVC by Task Force Criteria. Majority presented with chest pain (n = 7, 58%) or ventricular arrhythmia (n = 3, 25%). All patients had troponin elevations and left ventricular (LV) function was reduced in 5 (42%). Magnetic resonance imaging demonstrated LV delayed gadolinium enhancement and/or pericardial enhancement in 10 (83%); only 3 (25%) patients had right ventricular abnormalities. Pathogenic genetic variants were identified in 11 (92%) patients: 10 desmoplakin (DSP) and 1 desmoglein-2 (DSG2). Thus, nearly 1/3 (10/32, 31%) of overall DSP ARVC patients were originally diagnosed with myocarditis. Patients were diagnosed with ARVC 1.8 years (IQR 2.7 years) after presentation and 8 (75%) patients did not meet Task Force Criteria without genetic testing. ARVC diagnosis led to an additional 5 (42%) patients referred for implantable cardiac defibrillator and 17 family member diagnoses. In conclusion, ARVC may initially present as myocarditis and these patients have distinct characteristics including female gender, LV involvement and DSP gene variants. Genetic testing is key to ARVC diagnosis and should be considered in select myocarditis patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)128-134
Number of pages7
JournalAmerican Journal of Cardiology
StatePublished - Apr 15 2021


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