Clinical characteristics and risk stratification of desmoplakin cardiomyopathy

Weijia Wang, Brittney Murray, Crystal Tichnell, Nisha A. Gilotra, Stefan L. Zimmerman, Alessio Gasperetti, Paul Scheel, Harikrishna Tandri, Hugh Calkins, Cynthia A. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Aims: Desmoplakin (DSP) cardiomyopathy is an increasingly recognized form of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. With a genotype-specific approach, we characterized the diagnosis, natural history, and risk for ventricular arrhythmia and heart failure in DSP cardiomyopathy. Methods and results: We followed 91 individuals [45 probands, 34% male, median age 27.5 years (interquartile interval 20.0-43.9)] with pathogenic or likely pathogenic DSP variants for a median of 4.3 years. Regarding the ventricular involvement, left predominance was most common (n = 22, 28%) followed by bi-ventricular in 12 (15%) and right predominance in 5 (6%). Myocardial injury (chest pain, elevated troponin, normal coronary angiogram) occurred in 20 (22%) individuals. Incidence rates of sustained ventricular arrhythmia and heart failure (ventricular dysfunction ± symptoms) were 5.9 [95% confidence interval (CI): 3.9-9.1] and 6.7 (95% CI: 4.5-9.8) per 100 person-years, respectively. In univariate regression, myocardial injury was associated with sustained ventricular arrhythmia [hazard ratio (HR) 2.53, 95% CI: 1.05-6.11] and heart failure (HR 7.53, 95% CI: 3.10-18.26). After adjustment, left ventricular ejection fraction <35% and right ventricular dysfunction were prognostic for sustained ventricular arrhythmia while proband status and myocardial injury were prognostic for heart failure (all P < 0.05). The sensitivity of the arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy Task Force Criteria in diagnosing left dominant disease was 0.73; 5/22 (23%) of patients with sustained ventricular arrhythmias did not meet these criteria. Conclusion: DSP cardiomyopathy affects both ventricles and carries high risk for ventricular arrhythmia and heart failure. Myocardial injury is associated with worse disease outcomes. Both diagnosis and risk stratification of DSP cardiomyopathy need refinement.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)268-277
Number of pages10
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022


  • Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy
  • Desmoplakin
  • Heart failure
  • Myocardial injury
  • Ventricular arrhythmia


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