Myocardial fibrosis and the effect of primary prophylactic defibrillator implantation in patients with non-ischemic systolic heart failure—DANISH-MRI

American Heart Journal, 2020


Patients with non-ischemic systolic heart failure have an increased risk of sudden cardiac death (SCD). Myocardial fibrosis, detected as late gadolinium enhancement (LGE) with cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR), has been shown to predict all-cause mortality. We hypothesized that LGE can identify patients with non-ischemic heart failure who will benefit from ICD implantation.

Methods and results

In this prospective observational sub-study of the Danish Study to Assess the Efficacy of ICDs in Patients with Nonischemic Systolic Heart Failure on Mortality (DANISH), 252 patients underwent CMR. LGE was quantified by the full width/half maximum method. The primary endpoint was all-cause mortality. LGE could be adequately assessed in 236 patients, median age was 61 years and median duration of heart failure was 14 months; there were 108 patients (46%) randomized to ICD. Median follow-up time was 5.3 years. Median left ventricular ejection fraction on CMR was 35%. In all, 50 patients died. LGE was present in 113 patients (48%). The presence of LGE was an independent predictor of all-cause mortality (HR 1.82; 95% CI 1.002-3.29; P = .049) after adjusting for known cardiovascular risk factors. ICD implantation did not impact all-cause mortality, for either patients with LGE (HR 1.18; 95% CI 0.59-2.38; P = .63), or for patients without LGE (HR 1.00; 95% CI 0.39-2.53; P = .99), (P for interaction =0.79).


In patients with non-ischemic systolic heart failure, LGE predicted all-cause mortality. However, in this cohort, LGE did not identify a group of patients who survived longer by receiving an ICD.

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Elming MB, Hammer-Hansen S, Voges I, Nyktari E, Raja AA, Svendsen JH, Pehrson S, Signorovitch J, Køber L, Prasad SK, Thune JJ