Arrhythmic Mitral Valve Prolapse and Sudden Cardiac Death

Cristina Basso, Martina Perazzolo Marra, Stefania Rizzo, Manuel De Lazzari, Benedetta Giorgi, Alberto Cipriani, Anna Chiara Frigo, Ilaria Rigato, Federico Migliore, Kalliopi Pilichou, Emanuele Bertaglia, Luisa Cacciavillani, Barbara Bauce, Domenico Corrado, Gaetano Thiene, Sabino Iliceto
Circulation 2015 August 18, 132 (7): 556-66

BACKGROUND: Mitral valve prolapse (MVP) may present with ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death (SCD) even in the absence of hemodynamic impairment. The structural basis of ventricular electric instability remains elusive.

METHODS AND RESULTS: The cardiac pathology registry of 650 young adults (≤40 years of age) with SCD was reviewed, and cases with MVP as the only cause of SCD were re-examined. Forty-three patients with MVP (26 females; age range, 19-40 years; median, 32 years) were identified (7% of all SCD, 13% of women). Among 12 cases with available ECG, 10 (83%) had inverted T waves on inferior leads, and all had right bundle-branch block ventricular arrhythmias. A bileaflet involvement was found in 70%. Left ventricular fibrosis was detected at histology at the level of papillary muscles in all patients, and inferobasal wall in 88%. Living patients with MVP with (n=30) and without (control subjects; n=14) complex ventricular arrhythmias underwent a study protocol including contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance. Patients with either right bundle-branch block type or polymorphic complex ventricular arrhythmias (22 females; age range, 28-43 years; median, 41 years), showed a bileaflet involvement in 70% of cases. Left ventricular late enhancement was identified by contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance in 93% of patients versus 14% of control subjects (P<0.001), with a regional distribution overlapping the histopathology findings in SCD cases.

CONCLUSIONS: MVP is an underestimated cause of arrhythmic SCD, mostly in young adult women. Fibrosis of the papillary muscles and inferobasal left ventricular wall, suggesting a myocardial stretch by the prolapsing leaflet, is the structural hallmark and correlates with ventricular arrhythmias origin. Contrast-enhanced cardiac magnetic resonance may help to identify in vivo this concealed substrate for risk stratification.

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