Should endomyocardial biopsy be performed for detection of myocarditis? A decision analytic approach

P. Hrobon, K. M. Kuntz, J. M. Hare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: Performance of endomyocardial biopsy (EMB) to diagnose myocarditis in patients with dilated cardiomyopathy is controversial because of a lack of evidence favoring immunosuppressive therapy. In spite of advances in heart failure treatment, dilated cardiomyopathy carries a poor prognosis, and myocardial inflammation and vital infection are potential therapeutic targets. Methods: We used decision analysis to determine the efficacy (5-year risk reduction in mortality or transplantation) that a treatment for myocarditis would require to favor a biopsy-guided approach over conventional therapy. Literature-based estimates included prevalence of myocarditis among patients with dilated cardiomyopathy with or without borderline myocarditis (16% and 11%, respectively); probability of 5-year transplantation-free survival (55%); sensitivity (50% and 63%, respectively), specificity (95.4%), and mortality rate (0.4%) of EMB; side effects resulting in withdrawal of immunosuppressive treatment (4%); and a 6-month mortality rate for immunosuppressive treatment (0.1%). All estimates were varied to determine impact on model results (sensitivity analysis). Results: A therapy that decreased the rate of death or transplantation by 12.7% and 7.1% for patients without or with borderline myocarditis, respectively, favored EMB. Sensitivity analysis indicated that therapeutic efficacy was influenced by myocarditis prevalence and biopsy-related death, but not by accuracy of biopsy or probability of immunosuppressive therapy side effects. Randomized trials powered to detect 7% and 25% reductions in death and transplantation would require 5790 and 380 end points, respectively. Conclusion: Decreasing the rate of death or transplantation by 7.1% offsets therapy side effects, EMB-related death, and inaccuracies in histologic diagnosis. Prospective randomized trials of treatments for myocarditis may be more feasible during periods of high prevalence or with more sensitive diagnostic techniques.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)479-486
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Heart and Lung Transplantation
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Surgery
  • Transplantation


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