Giant cell versus lymphocytic myocarditis. A comparison of their clinical features and long-term outcomes.
BACKGROUND Giant cell myocarditis has rarely been diagnosed premortem, and little is known about its natural history. In addition, no comparative studies with lymphocytic myocarditis exist.
METHODS AND RESULTS The clinical features, serial change in left ventricular fraction (LVEF), and outcomes of all patients with histologically verified myocarditis were retrospectively evaluated. Ten patients (22%) were found to have giant cell myocarditis (group 1), whereas the remaining 36 (78%) had lymphocytic myocarditis (group 2). Age at presentation, gender distribution, duration of symptoms, initial LVEF, and resting hemodynamics did not differ between groups. Ventricular tachycardia was detected in 90% of group 1 patients compared with only 25% of group 2 (p = 0.0007). Atrioventricular block that required pacemaker insertion was also more common in group 1 (60%) than in group 2 (8.3%) (p = 0.001). Left ventricular systolic function declined during follow-up in group 1 patients (LVEF, 0.43 +/- 0.07-0.26 +/- 0.05, p = 0.11) but increased in group 2 patients (LVEF, 0.33 +/- 0.03-0.41 +/- 0.03, p = 0.02). When the net change between initial and final LVEF was assessed, a significant difference was evident (giant cell group, -0.17 +/- 0.06; lymphocytic group, +0.07 +/- 0.03; p = 0.0008). Although a greater proportion of patients in group 1 died or required transplantation (seven of 10 versus 11 of 36, p = 0.03), actuarial survival over 4 years was not different for the giant cell group (50%) than for the lymphocytic group (62%).
CONCLUSION Giant cell myocarditis was more prevalent than previously recognized and highly associated with both ventricular tachycardia and pacemaker requirement. The likelihood of an adverse event, either cardiovascular mortality or cardiac transplantation, was significantly greater for patients with giant cell myocarditis than for those with lymphocytic myocarditis, perhaps because of the progressive decline in left ventricular systolic function that was observed in those with giant cell myocarditis.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association