How is Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia Diagnosed?

ARVD is diagnosed based your on medical history, physical exam, and tests (echocardiogram, Holter monitor, electrophysiologic testing, cardiac MRI, and/or cardiac CT scan.

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is recommended for the diagnosis of ARVD, as it visualizes fibro-fatty infiltration of the right ventricular (RV) myocardium. It also can show increased RV dimensions as well as wall-motion abnormalities. Unfortunately, the image quality frequently is limited due to artifact from irregular heart rhythms. For this reason, the patient may also undergo a cardiac CT scan to confirm or rule out the diagnosis of ARVD. This imaging test can detect characteristic abnormalities of the RV myocardium or the RV cavity. Unlike MRI, a CT scan can be performed if the patient has an implanted device (e.g. pacemaker, defibrillator).

The diagnosis of ARVD is confirmed if the patient has these characteristics:

  • Abnormal function of the right ventricle (RV)
  • Fatty or fibrous-fatty infiltrates of the right ventricle heart muscle (myocardium)
  • Abnormal ECG
  • Arrhythmias (supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, especially with exercise)
  • Family history of ARVD

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