While implications of myocardial fibrosis on left ventricular (LV) function at rest have been studied in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), the pathophysiological consequences on dynamic LV outflow tract (LVOT) gradient have so far not been investigated in detail.
To evaluate the influence of myocardial fibrosis, detected by MRI as late-gadolinium enhancement (LGE), on LVOT gradient in HCM.
Retrospective database analysis.
A single Italian cardiomyopathies referral centre.
Seventy-six HCM patients with normal ejection fraction at rest.
Patients underwent cardiac MR and performed bicycle exercise echocardiogram within a month.
LGE was present in 54 patients (71%), ranging from 0.2% to 32.4% of LV mass. There was a weak correlation between the amount of fibrosis and LVOT gradient variation during exercise in the overall population (r=−0.243, p=0.034) and a stronger correlation in patients with obstructive HCM at rest (r=−0.524, p=0.021). Patients with an LVOT gradient increase ≥50 mm Hg during exercise had a significantly lesser extent of fibrosis than those with an increase <50 mm Hg (0.7% (IQR 0–2.4) vs 3.2% (IQR 0.2–7.4), p=0.006). The extent of fibrosis was significantly lower among the highest quartiles of LVOT gradient increase (p=0.009).
In patients with HCM and normal ejection fraction at rest, myocardial fibrosis was associated with a lower increase in LVOT gradient during exercise, probably due to a lesser degree of myocardial contractility recruitment. This negative association was more evident in patients with an obstructive form at rest.