Study looks at noncompaction cardiomyopathy

16th January 2015

People severely affected by left ventricular noncompaction cardiomyopathy (LVNC) do similarly well after heart transplant as those with severe dilated cardiomyopathy, says a new study.

The researchers, from the Advanced Heart Failure and Transplant Centre at the Harrington Heart and Vascular Institute in Cleveland, Ohio, looked at 113 patients (43 adults and 70 children) who had LVNC and had been on the heart transplant list.  Most were young men with a mean age of almost 17.

LVNC is thought to start developing in the womb and can progress to heart failure, sometimes requiring transplant.

The muscular wall of the main pumping chamber of the heart (the left ventricle) appears to be spongy and noncompacted.

Researchers, led by Dr Sadeer G. Al-Kindi, said there was limited data looking at which LVNC patients needed transplants and how well they did.

So they looked at the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) database for all patients listed between 2000 and 2013 with LVNC as the primary cause of heart failure. ( UNOS is a non-profit organisation that coordinates US organ transplant activities)

The research team said they noticed that patients were mostly children and had received pumping devices while waiting for their transplants.  But despite having more infections after their transplants, their survival was similar to others who had had transplants because of severe dilated cardiomyopathy.

While waiting for their transplants, eight patients died, five improved so they no longer needed a transplant, three become too sick for one.  But 78 did get a transplant and had slightly better outcomes, with a survival rate of  10.6 years compared to 9.4 years.

The results have been published online in The Journal of Lung and Heart Transplantation.