In this position statement of the ESC Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases an expert consensus group reviews the current knowledge on clinical presentation, diagnosis and treatment of myocarditis, and proposes new diagnostic criteria for clinically suspected myocarditis and its distinct biopsy-proven pathogenetic forms. The aims are to bridge the gap between clinical and tissue-based diagnosis, to improve management and provide a common reference point for future registries and multicentre randomised controlled trials of aetiology-driven treatment in inflammatory heart muscle disease.
In biology, classification systems are used to promote understanding and systematic discussion through the use of logical groups and hierarchies. In clinical medicine, similar principles are used to standardise the nomenclature of disease. For more than three decades, heart muscle diseases have been classified into primary or idiopathic myocardial diseases (cardiomyopathies) and secondary disorders that have similar morphological appearances, but which are caused by an identifiable pathology such as coronary artery disease or myocardial infiltration (specific heart muscle diseases). In this document, The European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases presents an update of the existing classification scheme. The aim is to help clinicians look beyond generic diagnostic labels in order to reach more specific diagnoses.
We describe the first case of acute cardiac injury directly linked to myocardial localization of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) in a 69-year-old patient with flu-like symptoms rapidly degenerating into respiratory distress, hypotension, and cardiogenic shock. The patient was successfully treated with venous-arterial extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and mechanical ventilation. Cardiac function fully recovered in 5 days and ECMO was removed. Endomyocardial biopsy demonstrated low-grade myocardial inflammation and viral particles in the myocardium suggesting either a viraemic phase or, alternatively, infected macrophage migration from the lung.
These observations emphasize the necessity of combining the right heart hemodynamic variables with a functional evaluation of the RV when trying to define the individual risk of patients with heart failure.
In this paper the Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Disease proposes a revised definition of dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in an attempt to bridge the gap between our recent understanding of the disease spectrum and its clinical presentation in relatives, which is key for early diagnosis and the institution of potential preventative measures. We also provide practical hints to identify subsets of the DCM syndrome where aetiology directed management has great clinical relevance.
Optical coherence tomography (OCT) is a novel intravascular imaging modality, based on infrared light emission, that enables a high resolution arterial wall imaging, in the range of 10-20 microns. This feature of OCT allows the visualization of specific components of the atherosclerotic plaques. The aim of the present Expert Review Document is to address the methodology, terminology and clinical applications of OCT for qualitative and quantitative assessment of coronary arteries and atherosclerosis.
Mutations in the fibrillin-1 (FBN1) gene cause Marfan syndrome (MFS) and have been associated with a wide range of overlapping phenotypes. Clinical care is complicated by variable age at onset and the wide range of severity of aortic features. The factors that modulate phenotypical severity, both among and within families, remain to be determined. The availability of international FBN1 mutation Universal Mutation Database (UMD-FBN1) has allowed us to perform the largest collaborative study ever reported, to investigate the correlation between the FBN1 genotype and the nature and severity of the clinical phenotype. A range of qualitative and quantitative clinical parameters (skeletal, cardiovascular, ophthalmologic, skin, pulmonary, and dural) was compared for different classes of mutation (types and locations) in 1,013 probands with a pathogenic FBN1 mutation. A higher probability of ectopia lentis was found for patients with a missense mutation substituting or producing a cysteine, when compared with other missense mutations. Patients with an FBN1 premature termination codon had a more severe skeletal and skin phenotype than did patients with an inframe mutation. Mutations in exons 24-32 were associated with a more severe and complete phenotype, including younger age at diagnosis of type I fibrillinopathy and higher probability of developing ectopia lentis, ascending aortic dilatation, aortic surgery, mitral valve abnormalities, scoliosis, and shorter survival; the majority of these results were replicated even when cases of neonatal MFS were excluded. These correlations, found between different mutation types and clinical manifestations, might be explained by different underlying genetic mechanisms (dominant negative versus haploinsufficiency) and by consideration of the two main physiological functions of fibrillin-1 (structural versus mediator of TGF beta signalling). Exon 24-32 mutations define a high-risk group for cardiac manifestations associated with severe prognosis at all ages.
Apoptosis has been shown to contribute to loss of cardiomyocytes in cardiomyopathy, progressive decline in left ventricular function, and congestive heart failure. Because the molecular mechanisms involved in apoptosis of cardiocytes are not completely understood, we studied the biochemical and ultrastructural characteristics of upstream regulators of apoptosis in hearts explanted from patients undergoing transplantation. Sixteen explanted hearts from patients undergoing heart transplantation were studied by electron microscopy or immunoblotting to detect release of mitochondrial cytochrome c and activation of caspase-3. The hearts explanted from five victims of motor vehicle accidents or myocardial ventricular tissues from three donor hearts were used as controls. Evidence of apoptosis was observed only in endstage cardiomyopathy. There was significant accumulation of cytochrome c in the cytosol, over myofibrils, and near intercalated discs of cardiomyocytes in failing hearts. The release of mitochondrial cytochrome c was associated with activation of caspase-3 and cleavage of its substrate protein kinase C ␦ but not poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase. By contrast, there was no apparent accumulation of cytosolic cytochrome c or caspase-3 activation in the hearts used as controls. The present study provides in vivo evidence of cytochrome c-dependent activation of cysteine proteases in human cardiomyopathy. Activation of proteases supports the phenomenon of apoptosis in myopathic process. Because loss of myocytes contributes to myocardial dysfunction and is a predictor of adverse outcomes in the patients with congestive heart failure, the present demonstration of an activated apoptotic cascade in cardiomyopathy could provide the basis for novel interventional strategies.
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