Mildly dilated congestive cardiomyopathy. Use of prospective diagnostic criteria and description of the clinical course without heart transplantation.
Prognosis in classically described dilated congestive cardiomyopathy has been reported to be related to ventricular size. Mildly dilated congestive cardiomyopathy (MDCM) has been defined as end-stage heart failure of unknown etiology (New York Heart Association class IV, left ventricular ejection fraction less than 30%), occurring with neither typical hemodynamic signs of restrictive myopathy nor significant ventricular dilatation (less than 15% above normal range). The present study includes follow-up in 12 nontransplant patients. In the first 4 months after diagnosis, two patients improved and are living, and two showed cardiac dilation and clinical deterioration and died. Six of the remaining eight with persistent MDCM died (four with intractable heart failure and two, sudden deaths) without change in ventricular size before death, despite medical therapy over 20 +/- 8 months. Eight comparable transplanted patients with persistent MDCM demonstrated improved total survival by life table analysis (p less than 0.05). A family history of congestive cardiomyopathy was found in nine of 16 patients (56%) with persistent MDCM. Nontransplant patients were older (p less than 0.02), but other findings were similar in the two groups. Endomyocardial biopsies available in 14 of 16 cases showed little or no myofibrillar loss in spite of severe hemodynamic impairment. The degree of myofibrillar loss did not correlate with hemodynamic parameters but showed good correlation with left ventricular size, that is, five of six patients with no myofibrillar loss had normal ventricular size, whereas all eight patients with mild myofibrillar loss had mild cardiomegaly (p less than 0.002). Our current experience suggests a somewhat variable but negative prognosis after prospective diagnosis of MDCM, with poor survival in patients with persistence of the original diagnostic features during follow-up. Preservation of heart size in MDCM is probably related to lack of significant myofibrillar loss. Thus, irrespective of heart size or myofibrillar preservation on biopsy, heart transplantation should be strongly considered in MDCM if signs of severe cardiac dysfunction persist despite therapy.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association