Heart, Lung and Circulation

Missed Opportunities in Identifying Cardiomyopathy Aetiology Prior to Advanced Heart Failure Therapy

Published:February 12, 2022DOI:


      Specific aetiologies of cardiomyopathy can significantly impact treatment options as well as appropriateness and prioritisation for advanced heart failure therapies such as ventricular assist device (VAD) or orthotopic heart transplantation (OHT). We reviewed the tissue diagnoses of patients who underwent advanced therapies for heart failure (HF) to identify diagnostic discrepancies.


      This study presents a retrospective cohort of the aetiology of cardiomyopathy in 118 patients receiving either durable VAD or OHT. Discrepancies between the preoperative aetiological diagnosis of cardiomyopathy with the pathological diagnosis were recorded. Echocardiographic and haemodynamic data were reviewed to examine differences in patients with differing aetiological diagnoses.


      Twelve (12) of 118 (12/118) (10.2%) had a pathological diagnosis that was discordant with pre-surgical diagnosis. The most common missed diagnoses were infiltrative cardiomyopathy (5) and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (3). Patients with misidentified aetiology of cardiomyopathy had smaller left ventricular (LV) dimensions on echocardiography than patients with dilated cardiomyopathy (5.8±0.9 vs 6.7±1.1 respectively p=0.01).


      Most HF patients undergoing VAD and OHT had a correct diagnosis for their heart failure prior to treatment, but a missed diagnosis at time of intervention (VAD or OHT) was not uncommon. Smaller LV dimension on echocardiogram in a patient with a non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy warrants further workup for a more specific aetiology.


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