56. Case Report: Arrhythmogenic Desmoplakin Cardiomyopathy – Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine

CardioNerds (Amit Goyal & Daniel Ambinder) join Northwestern University cardiology fellows (Sarah Hale, Sarah Chuzi, and Graham Lohrmann) for burgers and a great case by the Chicago River! They discuss a fascinating case of arrhythmogenic desmoplakin cardiomyopathy. Dr. Lisa Wilsbacher provides the E-CPR and program director Dr. Benjamin Freed provides a message for applicants.  Episode notes were developed by Johns Hopkins internal medicine resident Richard Ferraro with mentorship from University of Maryland cardiology fellow Karan Desai. 

Jump to: Patient summary – Case figures & media – Case teaching – References – Production team

Episode graphic by Dr. Carine Hamo

The CardioNerds Cardiology Case Reports series shines light on the hidden curriculum of medical storytelling. We learn together while discussing fascinating cases in this fun, engaging, and educational format. Each episode ends with an “Expert CardioNerd Perspectives & Review” (E-CPR) for a nuanced teaching from a content expert. We truly believe that hearing about a patient is the singular theme that unifies everyone at every level, from the student to the professor emeritus.

We are teaming up with the ACC FIT Section to use the #CNCR episodes to showcase CV education across the country in the era of virtual recruitment. As part of the recruitment series, each episode features fellows from a given program discussing and teaching about an interesting case as well as sharing what makes their hearts flutter about their fellowship training. The case discussion is followed by both an E-CPR segment and a message from the program director.

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Patient Summary

A male in his early 40s presented for second opinion regarding multiple ICD shocks. 10 years prior he was diagnosed with a “weak heart,” thought secondary to a viral illness and a dual-chamber ICD was placed at that time. He noted shocks occurring for the first time 5 years prior, at which time amiodarone was started. They recurred two years prior, when he was diagnosed with paroxysmal atrial fibrillation. Finally, he was hospitalized one month before presentation with multiple ICD shocks and was found to have high defibrillation thresholds (DFTs) and amiodarone was stopped. He  then presented for a second opinion from the Northwestern CardioNerds! 

The patient had been doing well on GDMT and had NYHA Class I symptoms (Enjoy Ep #13 – Approach to GDMT). He did note a family history of a cousin with “cardiac issues” and did not know his father’s family history. Physical exam demonstrated bradycardia and ECG demonstrated an a-paced, v-sensed rhythm at 50 bpm. TTE demonstrated a moderately dilated LV with LVEF 30%, globally reduced LV function and multiple wall motion abnormalities without a vascular distribution.  PET-CT was performed which showed diffuse uptake and high-intensity signal at the inferolateral and basal anterior walls. Cardiac MRI showed diffuse circumferential epicardial delayed enhancement with associated diffuse, enhancing thickening of the pericardium favoring inflammatory versus fibrotic process. Patient was initially diagnosed with cardiac sarcoid and started on prednisone and weekly methotrexate.  

On return of genetic testing, patient found to have a pathogenic variant for desmoplakin gene, and it was felt his cardiomyopathy was secondary to desmoplakin Left Dominant Arrhythmogenic Cardiomyopathy (LDAC, or left-dominant ARVC) presenting with inflammatory myocardial injury. On follow up the patient remained listed for transplant, and DFTs improved off amiodarone.  

Case Media

CXRECGCardiac MRIPET CT (Cardiac Sarcoid Protocol)Click to Enlarge

Episode Schematics & Teaching

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