Cardiac left ventricular myocardial tissue density, evaluated by computed tomography and autopsy

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BACKGROUND: Left ventricular mass (LVM) is an independent risk factor for the prediction of cardiac events. Its assessment is a clinically important diagnostic procedure in cardiology and may be performed by Computed Tomography (CT). The aim of this study was to assess the correlation between the cardiac left ventricular shell volume (LVShV) determined by postmortem Computed Tomography (PMCT) and the anatomic LVM obtained at autopsy and to calculate the myocardial tissue density.

METHODS: A total of 109 deceased individuals were examined with a 64-slice CT scanner and LVShV was determined. At autopsy, the left ventricle was dissected and weighted. The correlation between LVShV and the anatomic LVM was analysed. Asymmetric left ventricular (LV) hypertrophy was recorded. Inter-observer variability was evaluated, and a density value for myocardial tissue was calculated.

RESULTS: The mean age of the deceased was 55 ± 16 years, and 58% was men. We found 30 cases of asymmetric LV hypertrophy. A highly positive correlation existed between LVShV and anatomic LVM (r = 0.857; p < 0.0001), regardless of hypertrophy, asymmetric hypertrophy and gender. The mean difference in the inter-observer variability for LVShV assessment was - 4.4 ml (95% CI: -26.4; 17.6). A linear regression analysis was performed, resulting in a value of 1.265 g/ml for myocardial tissue density. Applying the hitherto used myocardial tissue density of 1.055 g/ml underestimated the anatomic LVM by 18.1% (p < 0.0001).

CONCLUSION: PMCT is a helpful tool for the assessment of LVM, and LVShV is highly correlated with LVM as assessed by subsequent autopsy. The correlation between the two was independent of gender, hypertrophy and LV asymmetric hypertrophy. We found a higher myocardial tissue density of 1.265 g/ml compared to previous studies. We show that PMCT combined with autopsy may contribute not only to anatomical but also clinical knowledge.

Original languageEnglish
Article number29
JournalBMC Medical Imaging
Pages (from-to)1-9
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2019

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