AIMS: Left bundle branch block (LBBB) is usually associated with structural myocardial diseases progressively leading to left ventricular (LV) dysfunction. We sought to determine the mechanical implications of LBBB (as defined based on Strauss' criteria) by Cardiovascular Magnetic Resonance (CMR).
METHOD AND RESULTS: We included consecutive patients referred to CMR to assess the structural cause of LBBB. CMR scans consisted of cine, stress perfusion, and late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) sequences. Myocardial deformation was assessed by tissue tracking analysis; LGE was quantified using the full width at half maximum method. We included 86 patients [63% male, 70 years (60-72)] with mean QRS duration 150 ± 13 msec. A structural disease was identified on CMR in 53% of patients (ischemic heart disease, IHD, 31%; non-ischemic heart disease, NIHD, 22%), while LBBB-related septal dyssynchrony (SD) was the only abnormality in 47%. LGE was found in 42% of patients. LVEF and myocardial deformation were impaired. Despite similar ECG characteristics, myocardial strain differed significantly between IHD, NIHD and SD patients, and patients with SD showed less impaired myocardial deformation. Indexed LV end-systolic volume and LGE extent were independently associated with impaired strain.
CONCLUSIONS: Patients with LBBB show different structural and mechanical properties, and LGE extent has an unfavourable effect on myocardial mechanics.