Publications by authors named "Jeroen F van der Heijden"

48 Publications

Discovering and Visualizing Disease-Specific Electrocardiogram Features Using Deep Learning: Proof-of-Concept in Phospholamban Gene Mutation Carriers.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2021 Feb 5;14(2):e009056. Epub 2021 Jan 5.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, the Netherlands (R.R.v.d.L., K.T., M.N.B., J.F.v.d.H., M.J.C., R.J.H., P.v.d.H., P.A.D., F.W.A., R.v.E.).

Background: ECG interpretation requires expertise and is mostly based on physician recognition of specific patterns, which may be challenging in rare cardiac diseases. Deep neural networks (DNNs) can discover complex features in ECGs and may facilitate the detection of novel features which possibly play a pathophysiological role in relatively unknown diseases. Using a cohort of PLN (phospholamban) p.Arg14del mutation carriers, we aimed to investigate whether a novel DNN-based approach can identify established ECG features, but moreover, we aimed to expand our knowledge on novel ECG features in these patients.

Methods: A DNN was developed on 12-lead median beat ECGs of 69 patients and 1380 matched controls and independently evaluated on 17 patients and 340 controls. Differentiating features were visualized using Guided Gradient Class Activation Mapping++. Novel ECG features were tested for their diagnostic value by adding them to a logistic regression model including established ECG features.

Results: The DNN showed excellent discriminatory performance with a c-statistic of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.91-0.99) and sensitivity and specificity of 0.82 and 0.93, respectively. Visualizations revealed established ECG features (low QRS voltages and T-wave inversions), specified these features (eg, R- and T-wave attenuation in V2/V3) and identified novel PLN-specific ECG features (eg, increased PR-duration). The logistic regression baseline model improved significantly when augmented with the identified features (<0.001).

Conclusions: A DNN-based feature detection approach was able to discover and visualize disease-specific ECG features in PLN mutation carriers and revealed yet unidentified features. This novel approach may help advance diagnostic capabilities in daily practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.009056DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7892204PMC
February 2021

Sudden Cardiac Death Prediction in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy: A Multinational Collaboration.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2021 Jan 9;14(1):e008509. Epub 2020 Dec 9.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology (J.C.-T., W.W., A.B., C.T., B.M., S.C., J.E.C., D.P.J., H.T., H.C., C.A.J.), Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD.

Background: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is associated with ventricular arrhythmias (VA) and sudden cardiac death (SCD). A model was recently developed to predict incident sustained VA in patients with ARVC. However, since this outcome may overestimate the risk for SCD, we aimed to specifically predict life-threatening VA (LTVA) as a closer surrogate for SCD.

Methods: We assembled a retrospective cohort of definite ARVC cases from 15 centers in North America and Europe. Association of 8 prespecified clinical predictors with LTVA (SCD, aborted SCD, sustained, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator treated ventricular tachycardia >250 beats per minute) in follow-up was assessed by Cox regression with backward selection. Candidate variables included age, sex, prior sustained VA (≥30s, hemodynamically unstable, or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator treated ventricular tachycardia; or aborted SCD), syncope, 24-hour premature ventricular complexes count, the number of anterior and inferior leads with T-wave inversion, left and right ventricular ejection fraction. The resulting model was internally validated using bootstrapping.

Results: A total of 864 patients with definite ARVC (40±16 years; 53% male) were included. Over 5.75 years (interquartile range, 2.77-10.58) of follow-up, 93 (10.8%) patients experienced LTVA including 15 with SCD/aborted SCD (1.7%). Of the 8 prespecified clinical predictors, only 4 (younger age, male sex, premature ventricular complex count, and number of leads with T-wave inversion) were associated with LTVA. Notably, prior sustained VA did not predict subsequent LTVA (=0.850). A model including only these 4 predictors had an optimism-corrected C-index of 0.74 (95% CI, 0.69-0.80) and calibration slope of 0.95 (95% CI, 0.94-0.98) indicating minimal over-optimism.

Conclusions: LTVA events in patients with ARVC can be predicted by a novel simple prediction model using only 4 clinical predictors. Prior sustained VA and the extent of functional heart disease are not associated with subsequent LTVA events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.120.008509DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7834666PMC
January 2021

Follow-up after hemodynamically not tolerated ventricular tachycardia in patients with midrange reduced to normal ejection fraction: A retrospective single-centre case series.

Eur J Clin Invest 2021 Jan 7;51(1):e13359. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Introduction: The benefit of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation in patients with hemodynamically not tolerated ventricular tachycardia (VT) and midrange reduced to normal ejection fraction (LVEF >35%) is currently unclear. The purpose of this study was to investigate follow-up after hemodynamically not tolerated VT in patients with LVEF >35%. In addition, we aimed to find possible predictive factors to identify who will benefit from ICD implantation.

Methods: In a retrospective single-centre case series, all patients with hemodynamically not tolerated VT and LVEF >35% that underwent electrophysiological study (EPS) and/or radiofrequency VT ablation were included.

Results: Forty-two patients (5 women, median age 68 years) with hemodynamically not tolerated VT and LVEF >35% underwent EPS. VT ablation was performed in thirty-one patients, which was considered successful in twenty-three patients. Nineteen patients had an ICD at discharge while 23 patients were discharged without an ICD. The severity of hemodynamic compromise, LVEF and ablation success played an important role in the decision-making for ICD implantation. Six patients (14.3%) had recurrence of VT, all hemodynamically tolerated.

Conclusions: In this small case series, patients with hemodynamically not tolerated VT and LVEF >35% had a relatively low recurrence rate and all recurrences were nonfatal. Based on our results, we hypothesize that the severity of hemodynamic compromise, LVEF and ablation success might modify the risk for VA recurrence. A prospective study to determine the prognostic value of these factors in patients with hemodynamically not tolerated VT and LVEF >35% is necessary.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/eci.13359DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7757240PMC
January 2021

A head-to-head comparison of speckle tracking echocardiography and feature tracking cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging in right ventricular deformation.

Eur Heart J Cardiovasc Imaging 2020 05 27. Epub 2020 May 27.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Aims: Speckle tracking echocardiography (STE) and feature tracking cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging (FT-CMR) are advanced imaging techniques which are both used for quantification of global and regional myocardial strain. Direct comparisons of STE and FT-CMR regarding right ventricular (RV) strain analysis are limited. We aimed to study clinical performance, correlation and agreement of RV strain by these techniques, using arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) as a model for RV disease.

Methods And Results: We enrolled 110 subjects, including 34 patients with definite ARVC, 30 preclinical relatives of ARVC patients, and 46 healthy control subjects. Global and regional RV longitudinal peak strain (PS) were measured by STE and FT-CMR. Both modalities showed reduced strain values in ARVC patients compared to ARVC relatives (STE global PS: P < 0.001; FT-CMR global PS: P < 0.001) and reduced strain values in ARVC relatives compared to healthy control subjects (STE global PS: P = 0.042; FT-CMR global PS: P = 0.084). There was a moderate, albeit significant correlation between RV strain values obtained by STE and FT-CMR [global PS r = 0.578 (95% confidence interval 0.427-0.697), P < 0.001]. Agreement between the techniques was weak (limits of agreement for global PS: ±11.8%). Correlation and agreement both deteriorated when regional strain was studied.

Conclusion: RV STE and FT-CMR show a similar trend within the spectrum of ARVC and have significant correlation, but inter-modality agreement is weak. STE and FT-CMR may therefore both individually have added value for assessment of RV function, but RV PS values obtained by these techniques currently cannot be used interchangeably in clinical practice.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ehjci/jeaa088DOI Listing
May 2020

Automatic Triage of 12-Lead ECGs Using Deep Convolutional Neural Networks.

J Am Heart Assoc 2020 05 14;9(10):e015138. Epub 2020 May 14.

Department of Cardiology University Medical Center Utrecht Utrecht The Netherlands.

BACKGROUND The correct interpretation of the ECG is pivotal for the accurate diagnosis of many cardiac abnormalities, and conventional computerized interpretation has not been able to reach physician-level accuracy in detecting (acute) cardiac abnormalities. This study aims to develop and validate a deep neural network for comprehensive automated ECG triage in daily practice. METHODS AND RESULTS We developed a 37-layer convolutional residual deep neural network on a data set of free-text physician-annotated 12-lead ECGs. The deep neural network was trained on a data set with 336.835 recordings from 142.040 patients and validated on an independent validation data set (n=984), annotated by a panel of 5 cardiologists electrophysiologists. The 12-lead ECGs were acquired in all noncardiology departments of the University Medical Center Utrecht. The algorithm learned to classify these ECGs into the following 4 triage categories: normal, abnormal not acute, subacute, and acute. Discriminative performance is presented with overall and category-specific concordance statistics, polytomous discrimination indexes, sensitivities, specificities, and positive and negative predictive values. The patients in the validation data set had a mean age of 60.4 years and 54.3% were men. The deep neural network showed excellent overall discrimination with an overall concordance statistic of 0.93 (95% CI, 0.92-0.95) and a polytomous discriminatory index of 0.83 (95% CI, 0.79-0.87). CONCLUSIONS This study demonstrates that an end-to-end deep neural network can be accurately trained on unstructured free-text physician annotations and used to consistently triage 12-lead ECGs. When further fine-tuned with other clinical outcomes and externally validated in clinical practice, the demonstrated deep learning-based ECG interpretation can potentially improve time to treatment and decrease healthcare burden.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.119.015138DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7660886PMC
May 2020

Diagnosing arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy by 2010 Task Force Criteria: clinical performance and simplified practical implementation.

Europace 2020 05;22(5):787-796

Netherlands Heart Institute, Moreelsepark 1, 3511 EP Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Aims: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is diagnosed by a complex set of clinical tests as per 2010 Task Force Criteria (TFC). Avoiding misdiagnosis is crucial to prevent sudden cardiac death as well as unnecessary implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantations. This study aims to validate the overall performance of the TFC in a real-world cohort of patients referred for ARVC evaluation.

Methods And Results: We included patients consecutively referred to our centres for ARVC evaluation. Patients were diagnosed by consensus of three independent clinical experts. Using this as a reference standard, diagnostic performance was measured for each individual criterion as well as the overall TFC classification. Of 407 evaluated patients (age 38 ± 17 years, 51% male), the expert panel diagnosed 66 (16%) with ARVC. The clinically observed TFC was false negative in 7/66 (11%) patients and false positive in 10/69 (14%) patients. Idiopathic outflow tract ventricular tachycardia was the most common alternative diagnosis. While the TFC performed well overall (sensitivity and specificity 92%), signal-averaged electrocardiogram (SAECG, P = 0.43), and several family history criteria (P ≥ 0.17) failed to discriminate. Eliminating these criteria reduced false positives without increasing false negatives (net reclassification improvement 4.3%, P = 0.019). Furthermore, all ARVC patients met at least one electrocardiogram (ECG) or arrhythmia criterion (sensitivity 100%).

Conclusion: The TFC perform well but are complex and can lead to misdiagnosis. Simplification by eliminating SAECG and several family history criteria improves diagnostic accuracy. Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy can be ruled out using ECG and arrhythmia criteria alone, hence these tests may serve as a first-line screening strategy among at-risk individuals.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euaa039DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7203633PMC
May 2020

Quantitative Approach to Fragmented QRS in Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy: From Disease towards Asymptomatic Carriers of Pathogenic Variants.

J Clin Med 2020 Feb 17;9(2). Epub 2020 Feb 17.

Department of Cardiology, Division Heart & Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht University, 3508 GA Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Fragmented QRS complexes (fQRS) are common in patients with arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). A new method of fQRS quantification may aid early disease detection in pathogenic variant carriers and assessment of prognosis in patients with early stage ACM. Patients with definite ACM ( = 221, 66%), carriers of a pathogenic ACM-associated variant without a definite ACM diagnosis ( = 57, 17%) and control subjects ( = 58, 17%) were included. Quantitative fQRS (Q-fQRS) was defined as the total amount of deflections in the QRS complex in all 12 electrocardiography (ECG) leads. Q-fQRS was scored by a single observer and reproducibility was determined by three independent observers. Q-fQRS count was feasible with acceptable intra- and inter-observer agreement. Q-fQRS count is significantly higher in patients with definite ACM (54 ± 15) and pathogenic variant carriers (55 ± 10) compared to controls (35 ± 5) ( < 0.001). In patients with ACM, Q-fQRS was not associated with sustained ventricular arrhythmia ( = 0.701) at baseline or during follow-up ( = 0.335). Both definite ACM patients and pathogenic variant carriers not fulfilling ACM diagnosis have a higher Q-fQRS than controls. This may indicate that increased Q-fQRS is an early sign of disease penetrance. In concealed and early stages of ACM the role of Q-fQRS for risk stratification is limited.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/jcm9020545DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7073517PMC
February 2020

Catheter Ablation for Atrial Fibrillation in Patients with Hemophilia or von Willebrand Disease.

TH Open 2019 Oct 24;3(4):e335-e339. Epub 2019 Oct 24.

Van Creveldkliniek, University Medical Center, University Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

 Management of atrial fibrillation (AF) is complex in patients with bleeding disorders. Catheter ablation such as pulmonary vein isolation (PVI) has been suggested in cases with bleeding disorders. However, data on safety are missing. This report describes the outcome of PVI in patients with bleeding disorders.  A retrospective study in our hemophilia treatment center of patients who underwent a PVI in 2014 to 2018. PVI was done according to local protocol. Clotting factor was given periprocedural. Postprocedural anticoagulation was given for at least 4 weeks, with clotting factor suppletion if needed to maintain factor VIII (FVIII) levels >0.20 IU/mL.  Five patients with hemophilia and one with von Willebrand disease were included. Eight PVIs were performed. Target FVIII levels (>0.80 IU/mL) were met before the procedure. Postprocedural anticoagulation was given: vitamin K antagonist (VKA) or direct oral anticoagulant (DOAC) dabigatran. All patients obtained long-term sinus rhythm, in two patients after a second PVI. However, late recurrent AF occurred in one patient after 42 months. A notable incidence of groin bleeds was observed: two of eight interventions (25%) compared with 0.9% in the general population. Bleeding seemed to be related to agitation, early mobilization, and bridging of VKA with low molecular weight heparin (LMWH). No relevant bleeding was observed when on DOAC therapy.  PVI seems to be effective in the case of bleeding disorders. To reduce the groin bleeds agitation and early mobilization should be avoided and DOAC is preferred over bridging VKA with LMWH.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1055/s-0039-1698756DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6813037PMC
October 2019

Incidence and predictors of implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy and its complications in idiopathic ventricular fibrillation patients.

Europace 2019 Oct;21(10):1519-1526

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Aims: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is a rare cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) implantation is currently the only treatment option. Limited data are available on the prevalence and complications of ICD therapy in these patients. We sought to investigate ICD therapy and its complications in patients with IVF.

Methods And Results: Patients were selected from a national registry of IVF patients. Patients in whom no underlying diagnosis was found during follow-up were eligible for inclusion. Recurrence of ventricular arrhythmia (VA) was derived from medical and ICD records, electrogram records of ICD therapies were used to differentiate between appropriate or inappropriate interventions. Independent predictors for appropriate ICD shock were calculated using cox regression. In 217 IVF patients, recurrence of sustained VAs occurred in 66 patients (30%) during a median follow-up period of 6.1 years. Ten patients died (4.6%). Thirty-eight patients (17.5%) experienced inappropriate ICD therapy, and 32 patients (14.7%) had device-related complications. Symptoms before cardiac arrest [hazard ratio (HR): 2.51, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.48-4.24], signs of conduction disease (HR: 2.27, 95% CI: 1.15-4.47), and carrier of the DPP6 risk haplotype (HR: 3.24, 1.70-6.17) were identified as independent predictors of appropriate shock occurrence.

Conclusion: Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy is an effective treatment in IVF, treating recurrences of potentially lethal VAs in approximately one-third of patients during long-term follow-up. However, device-related complications and inappropriate shocks were also frequent. We found significant predictors for appropriate ICD therapy. This may imply that these patients require additional management to prevent recurrent events.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euz151DOI Listing
October 2019

A new prediction model for ventricular arrhythmias in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy.

Eur Heart J 2019 06;40(23):1850-1858

Department of Genetics, University of Groningen, University Medical Center Groningen, Hanzeplein 1, Groningen, The Netherlands.

Aims: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is characterized by ventricular arrhythmias (VAs) and sudden cardiac death (SCD). We aimed to develop a model for individualized prediction of incident VA/SCD in ARVC patients.

Methods And Results: Five hundred and twenty-eight patients with a definite diagnosis and no history of sustained VAs/SCD at baseline, aged 38.2 ± 15.5 years, 44.7% male, were enrolled from five registries in North America and Europe. Over 4.83 (interquartile range 2.44-9.33) years of follow-up, 146 (27.7%) experienced sustained VA, defined as SCD, aborted SCD, sustained ventricular tachycardia, or appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (ICD) therapy. A prediction model estimating annual VA risk was developed using Cox regression with internal validation. Eight potential predictors were pre-specified: age, sex, cardiac syncope in the prior 6 months, non-sustained ventricular tachycardia, number of premature ventricular complexes in 24 h, number of leads with T-wave inversion, and right and left ventricular ejection fractions (LVEFs). All except LVEF were retained in the final model. The model accurately distinguished patients with and without events, with an optimism-corrected C-index of 0.77 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.73-0.81] and minimal over-optimism [calibration slope of 0.93 (95% CI 0.92-0.95)]. By decision curve analysis, the clinical benefit of the model was superior to a current consensus-based ICD placement algorithm with a 20.6% reduction of ICD placements with the same proportion of protected patients (P < 0.001).

Conclusion: Using the largest cohort of patients with ARVC and no prior VA, a prediction model using readily available clinical parameters was devised to estimate VA risk and guide decisions regarding primary prevention ICDs (www.arvcrisk.com).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/eurheartj/ehz103DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6568197PMC
June 2019

Atrial Dysfunction in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy.

Circ Cardiovasc Imaging 2018 09;11(9):e007344

Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands (B.K.V.).

Background: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inherited cardiomyopathy that is predominantly known to affect the ventricles. Evidence for atrial involvement remains limited. Therefore, we aimed to characterize atrial involvement in ARVC using functional cardiac magnetic resonance, define the extent of atrial size and function variation attributable to ventricular variables, and identify cardiac magnetic resonance-based predictors of atrial arrhythmias (AA) in ARVC.

Methods And Results: We analyzed cine cardiac magnetic resonance images of 66 definite ARVC patients without a history of AA or severe heart failure and 24 healthy controls. Using tissue tracking, we evaluated phasic biatrial volumes, ejection fractions (EFs), peak longitudinal strain, and strain rates (SRs). The primary outcome was the occurrence of AA during 6.8 years [3.0-10.8 years] of follow-up. Compared with controls, ARVC patients had higher biatrial volumes, reduced right atrial (RA) conduit function (passive EF [RAEF] and peak early-diastolic SR), reduced RA and left atrial (LA) reservoir function (peak systolic SR), and reduced RA and LA pump function (peak late-diastolic SR; P<0.05). Using multivariable analysis, predictors of increased risk of AA during follow-up were higher atrial volumes (RAV and LAV), decreased LA reservoir function (total LAEF and LA peak longitudinal strain), and decreased RA conduit function (passive RAEF and RA early-diastolic SR).

Conclusions: Compared with controls, patients with ARVC were found to have enlarged atria with decreased function on functional cardiac magnetic resonance examination. RA and LA parameters predict incident AA after adjusting for clinical and ventricular characteristics which suggests atrial involvement in ARVC.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCIMAGING.117.007344DOI Listing
September 2018

Incidence of Pulmonary Vein Stenosis After Radiofrequency Catheter Ablation of Atrial Fibrillation.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2017 06 26;3(6):589-598. Epub 2017 Apr 26.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Objectives: This study aimed to determine incidence of pulmonary vein stenosis (PVS) and evaluate PVS-related symptoms.

Background: The real-life incidence of PVS after radiofrequency catheter ablation (RFCA) of atrial fibrillation (AF) is unknown.

Methods: All patients who underwent RFCA of AF from 2005 to 2016 with routine pre- and post-ablation screening by magnetic resonance imaging or computed tomography were included. Primary ablation strategy was PV antrum isolation alone in all patients. PVS, defined as a significant reduction in the superoinferior or anteroposterior PV diameter, was classified as mild (30% to 50%), moderate (50% to 70%), or severe (>70%).

Results: Sufficient quality imaging of the PV anatomy before ablation and during follow-up (mean 6 ± 4 months) was performed in 976 patients (76.4% men, 59.1% paroxysmal AF). Of these patients, 306 (31.4%) showed mild stenosis, 42 (4.3%) revealed moderate stenosis, and 7 (0.7%) had a severe stenosis in at least 1 PV. Incidence of PVS fluctuated over the past decade. All severe PVS cases were likely caused by ablations being performed inside the PVs. Only 1 (0.1%) patient reported PVS-related symptoms of severe dyspnea during follow-up. Computed tomography revealed a subtotal occlusion of the left inferior PV and a severe stenosis of the left superior PV, requiring stenting.

Conclusions: Although mild PVS was frequently observed after RFCA in this large cohort, incidence of severe PVS was <1% and incidence of symptomatic PVS necessitating intervention was negligible. Based on these findings, it seems appropriate to only screen for PVS in patients with suggestive symptoms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2017.02.003DOI Listing
June 2017

Identification of sarcomeric variants in probands with a clinical diagnosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2018 07 21;29(7):1004-1009. Epub 2018 May 21.

Department of Medical Genetics, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Aims: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is an inherited cardiomyopathy characterized by ventricular arrhythmias and sudden death. Currently 60% of patients meeting Task Force Criteria (TFC) have an identifiable mutation in one of the desmosomal genes. As much overlap is described between other cardiomyopathies and ARVC, we examined the prevalence of rare, possibly pathogenic sarcomere variants in the ARVC population.

Methods: One hundred and thirty-seven (137) individuals meeting 2010 TFC for a diagnosis of ARVC, negative for pathogenic desmosomal variants, TMEM43, SCN5A, and PLN were screened for variants in the sarcomere genes (ACTC1, MYBPC3, MYH7, MYL2, MYL3, TNNC1, TNNI3, TNNT2, and TPM1) through either clinical or research genetic testing.

Results: Six probands (6/137, 4%) were found to carry rare variants in the sarcomere genes. These variants have low prevalence in controls, are predicted damaging by Polyphen-2, and some of the variants are known pathogenic hypertrophic cardiomyopathy mutations. Sarcomere variant carriers had a phenotype that did not differ significantly from desmosomal mutation carriers. As most of these probands were the only affected individuals in their families, however, segregation data are noninformative.

Conclusion: These data show variants in the sarcomere can be identified in individuals with an ARVC phenotype. Although rare and predicted damaging, proven functional and segregational evidence that these variants can cause ARVC is lacking. Therefore, caution is warranted in interpreting these variants when identified on large next-generation sequencing panels for cardiomyopathies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.13621DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6055742PMC
July 2018

The Prognostic Value of Right Ventricular Deformation Imaging in Early Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy.

JACC Cardiovasc Imaging 2019 03 14;12(3):446-455. Epub 2018 Mar 14.

Department of Cardiology, Division Heart and Lungs, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Objectives: The aim of this study was to investigate the prognostic value of echocardiographic deformation imaging in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) to optimize family screening protocols.

Background: ARVC is characterized by variable disease expressivity among family members, which complicates family screening protocols. Previous reports have shown that echocardiographic deformation imaging detects abnormal right ventricular (RV) deformation in the absence of established disease expression in ARVC.

Methods: First-degree relatives of patients with ARVC were evaluated according to 2010 task force criteria, including RV deformation imaging (n = 128). Relatives fulfilling structural task force criteria were excluded for further analysis. At baseline, deformation patterns of the subtricuspid region were scored as type I (normal deformation), type II (delayed onset, decreased systolic peak, and post-systolic shortening), or type III (systolic stretching and large post-systolic shortening). The final study population comprised relatives who underwent a second evaluation during follow-up. Disease progression was defined as the development of a new 2010 task force criterion during follow-up that was absent at baseline.

Results: Sixty-five relatives underwent a second evaluation after a mean follow-up period of 3.7 ± 2.1 years. At baseline, 28 relatives (43%) had normal deformation (type I), and 37 relatives (57%) had abnormal deformation (type II or III) in the subtricuspid region. Disease progression occurred in 4% of the relatives with normal deformation at baseline and in 43% of the relatives with abnormal deformation at baseline (p < 0.001). Positive and negative predictive values of abnormal deformation were, respectively, 43% (95% confidence interval: 27% to 61%) and 96% (95% confidence interval: 82% to 100%).

Conclusions: Normal RV deformation in the subtricuspid region is associated with absence of disease progression during nearly 4-year follow-up in relatives of patients with ARVC. Abnormal RV deformation seems to precede the established signs of ARVC. RV deformation imaging may potentially play an important role in ARVC family screening protocols.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jcmg.2018.01.012DOI Listing
March 2019

Analysis of 24-h Rhythm in Ventricular Repolarization Identifies QT Diurnality As a Novel Clinical Parameter Associated with Previous Ventricular Arrhythmias in Heart Failure Patients.

Front Physiol 2017 15;8:590. Epub 2017 Aug 15.

Division of Heart and Lungs, Department of Medical Physiology, University Medical Center UtrechtUtrecht, Netherlands.

Cardiac repolarization abnormalities are among the major causes of ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. In humans, cardiac repolarization duration has a 24-h rhythm. Animal studies show that this rhythm is regulated by 24-h rhythms in ion channel function and that disruption of this rhythm leads to ventricular arrhythmias. We hypothesized that 24-h rhythms in QT duration can be used as a predictor for sudden cardiac death and are associated with ventricular arrhythmias. Secondly, we assessed a possible mechanistic explanation by studying the putative role of hERG channel dysfunction. In 2 retrospective studies, measures of the 24-h variation in the QT and QTc intervals (QT and QTc diurnality, QTd and QTcd, respectively) have been derived from Holter analyses and compared between groups: 1) 39 post-infarct patients with systolic heart failure (CHF: < 35%), of which 14 with, and 25 without a history of ventricular arrhythmias and 2) five patients with proven (LQTS2) and 16 with potential (Sotalol-induced) hERG channel dysfunction vs. 22 controls. QTd was two-fold higher in CHF patients with a history of ventricular arrhythmias (38 ± 15 ms) compared to CHF patients without VT (16 ± 9 ms, = 0.001). QTd was significantly increased in LQT2 patients (43 ± 24 ms) or those treated with Sotalol (30 ± 10 ms) compared to controls (21 ± 8 ms, < 0.05 for both). QT diurnality presents a novel clinical parameter of repolarization that can be derived from Holter registrations and may be useful for identification of patients at risk for ventricular arrhythmias.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.00590DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5559512PMC
August 2017

Cardiac phenotype and long-term prognosis of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia patients with late presentation.

Heart Rhythm 2017 06 12;14(6):883-891. Epub 2017 Feb 12.

Department of Medicine, Division of Cardiology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland. Electronic address:

Background: The clinical profile of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia (ARVC/D) patients with late presentation is unknown.

Objective: The purpose of this study was to characterize the genotype, cardiac phenotype, and long-term outcomes of ARVC/D patients with late presentation (age ≥50 years at diagnosis).

Methods: Five hundred two patients with an ARVC/D diagnosis from Johns Hopkins and Utrecht Registries were studied and long-term clinical outcomes ascertained.

Results: Late presentation was seen in 104 patients (21%; 38% PKP2 carriers); 3% were ≥65 years at diagnosis. Sustained ventricular tachycardia was the major (43%) mode of presentation in patients with late presentation, whereas cardiac syncope was infrequent (P <.001). Those with late presentation were significantly less likely to harbor a known pathogenic mutation (53%; P = .005), have less precordial T-wave repolarization changes (P <.001), and have lower ventricular ectopy burden (P = .026). Over median 6-year follow-up, 68 patients with late presentation (65%) experienced sustained ventricular arrhythmias, with similar arrhythmia-free survival at 5-year follow up (P = .48). Left ventricular dysfunction and heart failure were seen in 24 (32%) and 15 patients (14%), respectively, without need for cardiac transplantation. In the late presentation cohort, male sex, pathogenic mutation, right ventricular structural disease, lack of family history, and electrophysiologic study inducibility were associated with increased arrhythmic risk.

Conclusion: One-fifth of all ARVC/D patients present after age 50 years, often with sustained ventricular tachycardia, and are less likely to have prior syncope, ECG changes, ventricular ectopy, or identifiable pathogenic mutation. In ARVC/D, late presentation does not confer a benign prognosis and is associated with high arrhythmic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.02.013DOI Listing
June 2017

Evaluation of Structural Progression in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy.

JAMA Cardiol 2017 03;2(3):293-302

Division of Cardiology, Department of Medicine, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Importance: Considerable research has described the arrhythmic course of arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C). However, objective data characterizing structural progression, such as ventricular enlargement and cardiac dysfunction, in ARVD/C are relatively scarce.

Objectives: To define the extent of structural progression, identify determinants of structural progression, and determine the association between structural progression and electrocardiographic (ECG) changes in patients with ARVD/C.

Design, Setting, And Participants: In this cohort study, first- and last-available echocardiograms of 85 patients with ARVD/C fulfilling 2010 Task Force diagnostic criteria (TFC) from a transatlantic ARVD/C registry were retrospectively compared to assess structural disease progression. Right ventricular (RV) size and systolic function between baseline and last follow-up were compared. The RV size was determined by RV outflow tract dimension, and RV and left ventricular (LV) systolic function were determined by RV fractional area change (RV-FAC) and LV ejection fraction (LVEF), respectively. Multivariable logistic regression was used to study associations between baseline characteristics and the occurrence of structural progression.

Main Outcomes And Measures: The main outcome was the change in variables indicating structural progression. Secondary outcomes were the correlation with electrical progression and identification of the association between baseline characteristics and occurence structural progression.

Results: Among the 85 patients with ARVD/C, mean (SD) age at baseline was 42.8 (14.4) years and 47 (55%) were men. After a mean (SD) follow-up of 6.4 (2.5) years, RV outflow tract dimension increased from 35 mm (interquartile range [IQR], 31 to 39) to 37 mm (IQR, 33 to 41) (P < .001), RV-FAC decreased from 39% (IQR, 33% to 44%) to 34% (IQR, 24% to 42%) (P < .001) (rate -3.3% per 5 years; IQR, -8.9% to 1.2%), indicating large interpatient variability. The LVEF decreased from 55% (IQR, 52% to 60%) to 54% (IQR, 49% to 57%) (P = .001) (rate, -0.2% per 5 years; IQR, -6.5% to 1.7%). Forty examinations were reanalyzed to establish the measurement error. Patients exceeding the measurement error by ±2 SDs were identified with significant progressive disease for RV, with a decrease in RV-FAC greater than 10% (n = 21) and, for LV, a decrease in LVEF greater than 7% (n = 23). Progression of RV disease was associated with depolarization criteria at baseline (odds ratio [OR], 9.0; 95% CI, 1.1-74.2; P = .04), whereas progression of LV disease was associated with phospholamban (PLN) mutation (OR, 8.8; 95% CI, 2.1-37.2; P = .003). There was no association between progressive RV/LV structural disease and newly developed ECG TFC.

Conclusions And Relevance: Structural dysfunction in ARVD/C is progressive with substantial interpatient variability. Significant structural RV progression was associated with prior depolarization abnormalities, whereas LV progression is modified by genetic background. Structural progression was not associated with development of new ECG TFC. The results of this study pave the way for designing and launching trials aimed at reducing structural progression in patients with ARVD/C.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1001/jamacardio.2016.5034DOI Listing
March 2017

Next-generation sequencing of a large gene panel in patients initially diagnosed with idiopathic ventricular fibrillation.

Heart Rhythm 2017 07 11;14(7):1035-1040. Epub 2017 Jan 11.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Bergman Clinics, Bilthoven, The Netherlands.

Background: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is a rare primary cardiac arrhythmia syndrome that is diagnosed in a resuscitated cardiac arrest victim, with documented ventricular fibrillation, in whom no underlying cause is identified after comprehensive clinical evaluation. In some patients, causative genetic mutations are detected that facilitate patient treatment and follow-up. The feasibility of next-generation sequencing (NGS) has increased with its greater availability and decreasing costs.

Objective: The aim of this study was to assess the diagnostic yield of NGS in patients with IVF.

Methods: A total of 33 patients initially diagnosed with IVF were included (mean age 53 ± 15 years; 14(42%) men). In all included patients, NGS of 33 genes and the DPP6 haplotype revealed no pathogenic mutations. Genetic screening comprised NGS of a panel of 179 additional genes. Variants with a minor allele frequency of <0.05% were assessed for pathogenicity by using existing mutation databases and in silico predictive algorithms.

Results: In 1 of 33 patients, a likely pathogenic mutation was detected. The added yield of genetic testing with NGS of 179 additional genes is 3% in patients with IVF. In 15% of patients, 1 or multiple variants of uncertain clinical significance were detected.

Conclusion: The added yield of genetic screening of extended NGS panels in patients initially diagnosed with IVF is minimal. Routine analysis of large diagnostic NGS panels is therefore not recommended.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2017.01.010DOI Listing
July 2017

Multilevel analyses of SCN5A mutations in arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy suggest non-canonical mechanisms for disease pathogenesis.

Cardiovasc Res 2017 01;113(1):102-111

Leon H. Charney Division of Cardiology, New York University School of Medicine, 550 First Avenue, New York, NY, USA.

Aims: Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) is often associated with desmosomal mutations. Recent studies suggest an interaction between the desmosome and sodium channel protein Na1.5. We aimed to determine the prevalence and biophysical properties of mutations in SCN5A (the gene encoding Na1.5) in ARVD/C.

Methods And Results: We performed whole-exome sequencing in six ARVD/C patients (33% male, 38.2 ± 12.1 years) without a desmosomal mutation. We found a rare missense variant (p.Arg1898His; R1898H) in SCN5A in one patient. We generated induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hIPSC-CMs) from the patient's peripheral blood mononuclear cells. The variant was then corrected (R1898R) using Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats/Cas9 technology, allowing us to study the impact of the R1898H substitution in the same cellular background. Whole-cell patch clamping revealed a 36% reduction in peak sodium current (P = 0.002); super-resolution fluorescence microscopy showed reduced abundance of Na1.5 (P = 0.005) and N-Cadherin (P = 0.026) clusters at the intercalated disc. Subsequently, we sequenced SCN5A in an additional 281 ARVD/C patients (60% male, 34.8 ± 13.7 years, 52% desmosomal mutation-carriers). Five (1.8%) subjects harboured a putatively pathogenic SCN5A variant (p.Tyr416Cys, p.Leu729del, p.Arg1623Ter, p.Ser1787Asn, and p.Val2016Met). SCN5A variants were associated with prolonged QRS duration (119 ± 15 vs. 94 ± 14 ms, P < 0.01) and all SCN5A variant carriers had major structural abnormalities on cardiac imaging.

Conclusions: Almost 2% of ARVD/C patients harbour rare SCN5A variants. For one of these variants, we demonstrated reduced sodium current, Na1.5 and N-Cadherin clusters at junctional sites. This suggests that Na1.5 is in a functional complex with adhesion molecules, and reveals potential non-canonical mechanisms by which Na1.5 dysfunction causes cardiomyopathy.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvw234DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5220677PMC
January 2017

Right Ventricular Imaging and Computer Simulation for Electromechanical Substrate Characterization in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2016 11;68(20):2185-2197

Department of Biomedical Engineering, Cardiovascular Research Institute Maastricht (CARIM), Maastricht University, Maastricht, the Netherlands; IHU Liryc, Electrophysiology and Heart Modeling Institute, Fondation Bordeaux Université, Bordeaux, France. Electronic address:

Background: Previous studies suggested that electrical abnormalities precede overt structural disease in arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC). Abnormal RV deformation has been reported in early ARVC without structural abnormalities. The pathophysiological mechanisms underlying these abnormalities remain unknown.

Objectives: The authors used imaging and computer simulation to differentiate electrical from mechanical tissue substrates among ARVC clinical stages.

Methods: ARVC desmosomal mutation carriers (n = 84) were evaluated by electrocardiography (ECG), Holter monitoring, late-enhancement cardiac magnetic resonance imaging, and echocardiographic RV deformation imaging. Subjects were categorized based on the presence of 2010 International Task Force criteria: 1) subclinical stage (n = 21); 2) electrical stage (n = 15); and 3) structural stage (n = 48). Late enhancement was not present in any subclinical or electrical stage subjects.

Results: Three distinctive characteristic RV longitudinal deformation patterns were identified: type I: normal deformation (n = 12); type II: delayed onset of shortening, reduced systolic peak strain, and mild post-systolic shortening (n = 35); and type III: systolic stretching with large post-systolic shortening (n = 37). A majority (69%) of structural staged mutation carriers were type III, whereas a large proportion of both electrical and subclinical stage subjects (67% and 48%, respectively) were type II. Computer simulations demonstrated that the type II pattern can be explained by a combination of reduced contractility and mildly increased passive myocardial stiffness. This evolved into type III by aggravating both mechanical substrates. Electrical activation delay alone explained none of the patterns.

Conclusions: Different ARVC stages were characterized by distinct RV deformation patterns, all of which could be reproduced by simulating different degrees of mechanical substrates. Subclinical and electrical staged ARVC subjects already showed signs of local mechanical abnormalities. Our novel approach could lead to earlier disease detection and, thereby, influence current definitions of electrical and subclinical ARVC stages.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2016.08.061DOI Listing
November 2016

Long-Term Outcome of Patients Initially Diagnosed With Idiopathic Ventricular Fibrillation: A Descriptive Study.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2016 10;9(10)

From the Departments of Cardiology (M.V., J.F.v.d.H., P.A.D., P.L., R.J.H.) and Clinical Genetics (J.J.v.d.S.), University Medical Centre, Utrecht, The Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Bergman Clinics, Bilthoven, The Netherlands (M.V., R.J.H.); and Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Heart Centre, AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (A.A.W.).

Background: Idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is a rare cause of sudden cardiac arrest. Limited data are available on the long-term outcome of IVF patients.

Methods And Results: In this retrospective cohort study, 107 consecutive patients with an initial diagnosis of IVF were analyzed (age at index event 40.4 years, 60% male). Missing diagnostic data were acquired during follow-up, including genetic testing, to exclude underlying disease. A specific diagnosis was revealed in 22 of 107 patients (21%) during a median follow-up of 10.2 years. Mortality rate was 9% in IVF patients (8/85). Appropriate implantable cardioverter-defibrillator therapy was delivered in 23 patients (29%) of 78 IVF patients with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, with a median of 3 appropriate shocks per patient.

Conclusions: One fifth of the patients initially diagnosed with IVF reveal a specific diagnosis during long-term follow-up. Additional diagnostic testing, including genetic testing, contributes to the detection of specific diseases. The recurrence rate of ventricular arrhythmias in IVF patients is high. Our data show the importance of thorough follow-up and reassessment of diagnosis in IVF patients.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.116.004258DOI Listing
October 2016

Time matters: adenosine testing immediately after pulmonary vein isolation does not substitute a waiting period.

Europace 2017 Jul;19(7):1140-1145

Division of Heart and Lungs, Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584 CX Utrecht, The Netherlands.

Aims: Adenosine testing can reveal dormant pulmonary vein (PV) conduction after PV antrum isolation (PVAI). However, the optimal timing for adenosine administration is unknown. We hypothesized that adenosine testing immediately after PVAI reliably reveals PV reconnection and thereby eliminates the need for an observation period.

Methods And Results: Fifty patients underwent PVAI. Immediately after isolation of a PV pair, adenosine was administered. Both PV pairs were separately tested. If adenosine restored PV conduction, PVs were re-isolated. During a ≥30 min observation period after immediate adenosine-guided isolation, spontaneous reconnection was assessed and reconnected PVs were re-isolated. After the observation period, adenosine testing was repeated. Immediate adenosine testing revealed dormant conduction in 10.4% of the left PVs and 16.3% of the right PVs. All PVs were successfully re-isolated. During a mean observation period of 36 ± 10 min, spontaneous reconnection occurred in 8.2% of the left and 16.3% of the right PVs. None of these PVs had shown reconnection during immediate testing. Late adenosine testing revealed dormant conduction in 12.5% of the left and 16.3% of the right PVs. In patients without reconnection during immediate adenosine testing, 14.6% of the left PVs and 30.6% of the right PVs showed either spontaneous reconnection or restored PV conduction during late adenosine testing.

Conclusion: Adenosine testing immediately after PVAI does not reliably exclude later spontaneous or adenosine-induced PV reconnection. Adenosine testing should be performed after an appropriate observation period to reduce risk of PV reconnection.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euw173DOI Listing
July 2017

New concepts for anticoagulant therapy in persons with hemophilia.

Blood 2016 11 26;128(20):2471-2474. Epub 2016 Sep 26.

A. Bianchi Bonomi Hemophilia and Thrombosis Center, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Ca' Granda Maggiore Policlinico Hospital Foundation and University of Milan, Milan, Italy.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1182/blood-2016-07-727032DOI Listing
November 2016

Influence of Genotype on Structural Atrial Abnormalities and Atrial Fibrillation or Flutter in Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/Cardiomyopathy.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2016 12 6;27(12):1420-1428. Epub 2016 Oct 6.

Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Utrecht, the Netherlands.

Introduction: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular dysplasia/cardiomyopathy (ARVD/C) is associated with desmosomal mutations. Although desmosomal disruption affects both ventricles and atria, little is known about atrial involvement in ARVD/C.

Objective: To describe the extent and clinical significance of structural atrial involvement and atrial arrhythmias (AA) in ARVD/C stratified by genotype.

Methods: We included 71 patients who met ARVD/C Task Force Criteria and underwent cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) imaging and molecular genetic analysis. Indexed atrial end-diastolic volume and area-length-ejection-fraction (ALEF) were evaluated on CMR and compared to controls with idiopathic right ventricular outflow tract tachycardia (n = 40). The primary outcome was occurrence of AA (atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter) during follow-up, recorded by 12-lead ECG, Holter monitoring or implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) interrogation.

Results: Patients harbored a desmosomal plakophilin-2 (PKP2) (n = 37) or nondesmosomal phospholamban (PLN) (n = 14) mutation. In 20 subjects, no pathogenic mutation was identified. Compared to controls, right atrial (RA) volumes were reduced in PKP2 (P = 0.002) and comparable in PLN (P = 0.441) mutation carriers. In patients with no mutation identified, RA (P = 0.011) and left atrial (P = 0.034) volumes were increased. Bi-atrial ALEF showed no significant difference between the groups. AA were experienced by 27% of patients and occurred equally among PKP2 (30%) and no mutation identified patients (30%), but less among PLN mutation carriers (14%).

Conclusion: Genotype influences atrial volume and occurrence of AA in ARVD/C. While the incidence of AA is similar in PKP2 mutation carriers and patients with no mutation identified, PKP2 mutation carriers have significantly smaller atria. This suggests a different arrhythmogenic mechanism.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jce.13094DOI Listing
December 2016

A patient with early repolarization syndrome and concurrent Brugada syndrome: Demonstration of a different pathophysiology?

Int J Cardiol 2016 Nov 5;223:58-60. Epub 2016 Aug 5.

Department of Cardiology, University Medical Centre, Utrecht, the Netherlands; Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Bergman Clinics, Bilthoven, the Netherlands.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijcard.2016.08.072DOI Listing
November 2016

Idiopathic Ventricular Fibrillation: The Struggle for Definition, Diagnosis, and Follow-Up.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2016 May;9(5)

From the Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center, Utrecht, The Netherlands (M.V., J.F.v.d.H., P.A.D., P.L., R.J.H.); Department of Internal Medicine and Cardiology, Bergman Clinics, Bilthoven, The Netherlands (M.V., R.J.H.); and Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Heart Centre, AMC, Amsterdam, The Netherlands (A.A.W.).

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.115.003817DOI Listing
May 2016

Five-year efficacy of pulmonary vein antrum isolation as a primary ablation strategy for atrial fibrillation: a single-centre cohort study.

Europace 2016 Sep 2;18(9):1335-42. Epub 2016 Feb 2.

Division of Heart and Lungs, Department of Cardiology, University Medical Center Utrecht, Heidelberglaan 100, 3584CX Utrecht, The Netherlands

Aims: Pulmonary vein antrum isolation (PVAI) is the cornerstone of atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation. There is an ongoing discussion on whether and when to add substrate modification to PVAI. This study evaluates (1) long-term efficacy of PVAI as a primary ablation strategy in all patients independently from AF type and (2) predictors of arrhythmia recurrence.

Methods And Results: A total of 509 consecutive patients (mean age 57 years, 38.9% non-paroxysmal AF) with AF underwent PVAI. In redo procedures, ablation was restricted to re-pulmonary vein (PV) isolation in case of PV reconnection. If the PVs were found to be isolated, substrate modification was performed. In total, 774 procedures were performed. Mean follow-up duration after the first and last ablation was, respectively, 66 ± 23 and 55 ± 25 months. A single PVAI was sufficient in restoring and maintaining long-term sinus rhythm in 41.3% (n = 210) of patients. Multiple procedures (mean 1.5) with re-PV isolation increased long-term success to 58.3% (n = 297). Additional substrate modification (n = 70) increased success to 62.5% (n = 318). After the last ablation, 87.5% of patients experienced success or significant clinical improvement on or off antiarrhythmic drugs. The incidence of left-sided atrial flutter or atrial tachycardia was 5% after PVAI and increased to 32% after additional substrate modification. Independent predictors for arrhythmia recurrence after the last ablation were non-paroxysmal AF, female sex, body mass index, hypertension, and AF duration.

Conclusion: Five-year freedom of atrial tachyarrhythmia could be achieved by PVAI as primary ablation strategy in 58.3% of patients. Additional substrate modification only moderately increased overall success.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euv439DOI Listing
September 2016

Detailed characterization of familial idiopathic ventricular fibrillation linked to the DPP6 locus.

Heart Rhythm 2016 Apr 8;13(4):905-12. Epub 2015 Dec 8.

Heart Center, Department of Clinical and Experimental Cardiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Princess Al-Jawhara Al-Brahim Centre of Excellence in Research of Hereditary Disorders, Jeddah, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Electronic address:

Background: Familial idiopathic ventricular fibrillation (IVF) is a severe disease entity and is notoriously difficult to manage because there are no clinical risk indicators for premature cardiac arrest. Previously, we identified a link between familial IVF and a risk haplotype on chromosome 7q36 (involving the arrhythmia gene DPP6).

Objective: The purpose of this study was to expand our knowledge of familial IVF and to discuss its (extended) clinical characteristics.

Methods: We studied 601 family members and probands: 286 DPP6 risk-haplotype positive (haplotype-positive) and 315 DPP6 risk-haplotype negative (haplotype-negative) individuals. Clinical parameters, a combination of all-cause mortality and (aborted) cardiac arrest and differences between haplotype-positives and haplotype-negatives, were evaluated.

Results: There were no differences in electrocardiographic indices between haplotype-positives and haplotype-negatives, or between haplotype-positives with or without events. Cardiac magnetic resonance documented slightly larger ventricular volumes in haplotype-positives compared to controls (P <.05), but these were not clinically useful. Mortality and/or cardiac arrest occurred in 85 haplotype-positives (30%) and 18 haplotype-negatives (6%). Twenty-four haplotype-positives (8% male) were resuscitated from ventricular fibrillation (VF). Documented VF was always elicited by monomorphic short-coupled extrasystoles from the right ventricular apex/lower free wall. Median survival in risk-haplotype haplotype-positives was 70 vs. 93 years for haplotype-negatives (P < .01), with a worse phenotype in males (median survival 63 vs. 83 years in females, P < .01). Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators were implanted in 99 patients (76 [77%] for primary prevention). Two arrhythmic events occurred in the primary prevention group during follow-up (5 ± 3 years).

Conclusion: Despite our extensive analysis, the complexity in identifying asymptomatic IVF family members at risk for future arrhythmias based on clinical parameters is once more demonstrated.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2015.12.006DOI Listing
April 2016