BACKGROUND: Atrio-ventricular block (AVB) is a rare finding in young or middle-aged adults, often leading to pacemaker implantation (PM) without further investigation. We sought to assess the diagnostic role of cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) in young and middle-aged adults with high-grade AVB.
METHODS: We consecutively enrolled young-middle aged (18-65years) patients with high grade AVB referred to CMR after standard clinical assessment (history, electrocardiogram and cardiac rhythm monitoring) prior to PM implantation. Cine and post-contrast imaging were performed in a 1.5T scanner.
RESULTS: 34 patients (59% male, mean age 42±12years) with high grade AVB were referred to CMR for suspected ischemic heart disease (IHD)(n=4) and non-ischemic heart disease (NIHD)(n=20); no clear cause was found in 9 patients prior to CMR and 1 patient had suspected lung disease. A pathologic substrate was found on CMR in 15 patients (44%), while a structurally normal heart was reported in 18 (53%). Non-specific findings were reported in 1 patient (3%). There was a fair agreement between CMR and echocardiographic findings (Cohen's kappa 0.243), and CMR provided an entirely new diagnosis in 34% of patients. As compared to the standard clinical assessment, CMR had an additional role in 65% of patients and guided further testing (genetic testing, extra-cardiac imaging) in 9%.
CONCLUSIONS: CMR found a pathologic substrate in 44% of patients, mainly NIHD (32%). Half of the patients (53%) had a structurally normal heart. When added to the standard clinical assessment, CMR had an incremental diagnostic role in two thirds of patients.
- Journal Article