Cardiomyopathy and myocarditis in children with ventricular ectopic rhythm

Henry B. Wiles, Paul C. Gillette, Russell A. Harley, Jane K. Upshur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Objective. The objective of this study was to evaluate the histologic features of the myocardium in children with Abnormal ventricular ectopic rhythm but a structurally normal heart. Background. Abnormal ventricular ectopic rhythm in children with a structurally normal heart is en uncommon but serious condition. Previous studies in adults with these have shown that approximately 10% have "primary electrical disease" and that 40% to 100% of these nave abnormal histologic findings. Methods. Endomyocardial biopsy samples were prospectively in 33 subjects presenting with ventricular ectopic rhythm but a structurally normal heart by physical examination and noninvasive studies. Biopsy specimens were evaluated for histologic changes consistent with dilated cardiomyopathy or myocarditis and these results were compared with noninvasive and invasive clinical findings. Results. Of the 33 subjects, 16 (48%) had normal myocardial histologic features (Group A), 14 (42%) had changes similar to the histologic features seen with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (Group B) and 3 (9%) had lynphocytic myocarditis (Group C). Presenting clinical symptoms, surface electrocardiograms (ECGs), exercise stress testing and electrophysiologic stimulation failed to predict the biopsy results. Twenty-four-hour ambulatory ECGs showed a statistical difference between sustained and nonsustained ventricular tachycardia in Group A versus Group B (p < 0.007), with Group A having more sustained ventricular tachycardia. Left ventricular function measured by fractional shortening on echocardiography did not differ between groups, but left ventricular end-diastolic dimension was greater in the subjects with abnormal histologic findings (Group B) (p < 0.03). Conclusions. These results provide evidence that approximately 50% of children with abnormal ventricular ectopic rhythm but a structurally normal heart may have subclinical cardiomyopathy or unsuspected myocarditis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)359-362
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of the American College of Cardiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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