Background: The origin and clinical relevance of exercise-induced premature ventricular beats (PVBs) in patients without coronary heart disease or cardiomyopathies is unknown. Cardiovascular magnetic resonance enables us to non-invasively assess myocardial scarring and oedema. The purpose of our study was to discover any evidence of myocardial anomalies in patients with exercise-induced ventricular premature beats. Methods: We examined 162 consecutive patients presenting palpitations and documented exercise-induced premature ventricular beats (PVBs) but no history or evidence of structural heart disease. Results were compared with 70 controls matched for gender and age. ECG-triggered, T2-weighted, fast spin echo triple inversion recovery sequences and late gadolinium enhancement were obtained as well as LV function and dimensions. Results: Structural anomalies in the myocardium and/or pericardium were present in 85 % of patients with exercise-induced PVBs. We observed a significant difference between patients with PVBs and controls in late gadolinium enhancement, that is 68 % presented subepicardial or midmyocardial lesions upon enhancement, whereas only 9 % of the controls did so (p < 0.0001). More patients presented pericardial enhancement (35 %) or pericardial thickening (27 %) compared to controls (21 % and 13 %, p < 0.0001). Myocardial oedema was present in 37 % of the patients and in only one control, p < 0.0001. Left ventricular ejection fraction did not differ between patients and controls (63.1 ± 7.9 vs. 64.7 ± 7.0, p = 0.13). Conclusions: The majority of patients with exercise-associated premature ventricular beats present evidence of myocardial disease consistent with acute or previous myocarditis or myopericarditis.
- Cardiovascular magnetic resonance
- Late gadolinium enhancement
- Premature ventricular beats
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine