Additional diagnostic value of CMR to the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) position statement criteria in a large clinical population of patients with suspected myocarditis

P. Stefan Biesbroek, Alexander Hirsch, Alwin Zweerink, Peter M. van de Ven, Aernout M. Beek, Maarten Groenink, Fons Windhausen, R. Nils Planken, Albert C. van Rossum, Robin Nijveldt

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Aims: To determine the diagnostic yield of tissue characterization by cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in a large clinical population of patients with suspected acute myocarditis (AM) and to establish its diagnostic value within the 2013 European Society of Cardiology position statement criteria (ESC-PSC) for clinically suspected myocarditis. Methods and results: In this retrospective study, CMR examinations of 303 hospitalized patients referred for work-up of suspected AM in two tertiary referral centres were analysed. CMR was performed at median 7 days (interquartile range 4-20 days) after clinical presentation and included cine imaging, T2-weighted imaging, and late gadolinium enhancement. CMR images were evaluated to assign each patient to a diagnosis. By using non-CMR criteria only, the 2013 ESC-PSC were positive for suspected myocarditis in 151 patients and negative in 30. In the remaining 122 patients, there was insufficient information available for ESC-PSC assessment, mostly due to lack of coronary angiography (CAG) before the CMR examination (n = 116, 95%). There were no in-hospital deaths. CMR provided a diagnosis in 158 patients (52%), including myocarditis in 104 (34%), myocardial infarction in 44 (15%), and other pathology in 10 patients (3%). Non-urgent CAG (>24 h after presentation) was performed before the CMR examination in 85 patients, of which 20 (24%) were done in patients with subsequently confirmed AM, which could potentially have been avoided if CMR was performed first. ESC-PSC was correct in diagnosing AM before the CMR in 50 of the 151 patients (33%) and was correct in ruling out AM in all the 30 patients (100%). However, ESC-PSC provided an incorrect diagnosis of AM in 27 of the 151 patients (18%), which was corrected by CMR through the identification of new cardiac disease that could explain the clinical syndrome. Patients with insufficient ESC-PSC information had a relatively low pre-test probability of coronary artery disease. In this group, CMR confirmed the diagnosis of AM in a relatively high percentage (44%) but still revealed myocardial infarction in 8% of them. Conclusion: Tissue characterization by CMR provided a good diagnostic yield in this large clinical population of patients with suspected AM. CMR provided incremental diagnostic value to the ESC-PSC by ruling out the diagnosis of AM on one hand and by potentially sparing AM patients from CAG on the other.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1397-1407
JournalEuropean heart journal cardiovascular Imaging
Issue number12
Early online date24 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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