Background: For patients with acute dilated cardiomyopathy, definition of prognosis and of clinical features predictive of outcome is particularly important due to the availability of cardiac transplantation and other innovative treatment strategies. Methods and Results: We reviewed our experience with 24 children under 2 years of age with dilated congestive cardiomyopathy to determine outcome and potential predictive variables. Clinical, serological, ECG, echocardiographic, hemodynamic, and histological findings were analyzed. Idiopathic cardiomyopathy or myocarditis constituted 29% of the patients presenting with congestive heart failure without structural heart disease. Among these patients, 45% recovered completely, 25% survived with persistent left ventricular dysfunction, and 30% died. All except one of the deaths occurred during the first 2 months after presentation. Poorer outcome and higher mortality were associated with a more severely depressed left ventricular ejection fraction and/or a more spherical left ventricular shape at presentation. Histological evidence of myocardial inflammation was a favorable prognostic indicator, whereas histological evidence of endocardial fibroelastosis was associated with a poor outcome. During the recovery phase, diastolic volume fell rapidly. Ventricular mass was elevated from the earliest observations and fell more slowly, with persistent elevation of the mass-to-volume ratio up to 2 years. Function and contractility improved over the first several months in most patients who recovered, although in occasional patients continued improvement was seen for as long as 2 years after presentation. Conclusions: Histological and echocardiographic features can be used to identify patients at particularly high risk for death. To have any impact on outcome, decisions about cardiac transplantation must be reached rapidly, since almost all deaths occurred within the first 2 months after presentation. Recovery of function is often rapid, but continued improvement may be seen for as long as 2 years.
- dilated cardiomyopathy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)