Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy is a rare genetic entity characterized by progressive fibro-fatty replacement of myocardium leading to malignant arrhythmias, syncope, and sudden cardiac death. Mostly it affects the right ventricle, but cases have also been described with biventricular and even isolated left ventricular involvement. The disease affects mainly young males and arrhythmias are usually induced by exercise. Arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy has a genetic origin and is basically caused by deleterious alterations in genes encoding desmosomal proteins, especially plakophilin-2. To date, more than 400 rare genetic alterations have been identified in 18 genes, mainly with autosomal dominant inheritance, but some recessive forms have also been reported (Naxos disease and Carvajal syndrome). A comprehensive genetic analysis identifies a rare variant as potential cause of the disease in around 60% of patients, suggesting the existence of unknown genes as well as other genome alterations not yet discovered. Genetic interpretation classifies some of these rare variants as ambiguous, playing an uncertain role in arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy. This makes a proper translation of genetic data into clinical practice difficult. Moreover, incomplete penetrance and variable phenotypic expression makes it difficult to arrive at the correct diagnosis. In the present chapter, we focus on recent advances in the knowledge regarding the genetic basis of arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy.
Part of the book: Cardiomyopathy
Short QT syndrome (SQTS) is an extremely rare inherited arrhythmogenic entity. Nowadays, less than 200 families affected worldwide have been reported. This syndrome is characterized by the presence of a short QT interval leading to malignant ventricular tachyarrhythmias, syncope and sudden cardiac death. It is one of the most lethal heart diseases in children and young adults. Both incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity are hallmarks of this entity, making it difficult to diagnose and manage. Currently, rare variants in nine genes have been associated with SQTS (CACNA1C, CACNA2D1, CACNB2, KCNH2, KCNJ2, KCNQ1, SLC22A5, SLC4A3 and SCN5A). However, only pathogenic variants in four genes (KCNH2, KCNQ1, KCNJ2 and SLC4A3) have been found to definitively cause SQTS. The remaining genes lack a clear association with the disease, making clinical interpretation of the variants challenging. The diagnostic yield of genetic tests is currently less than 30%, leaving most families clinically diagnosed with SQTS without a conclusive genetic diagnosis. We reviewed and updated the main genetic features of SQTS, as well as recent evidence on increasingly targeted treatment.
Part of the book: Rare Diseases