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Isolated left ventricular noncompaction

Heidi M Connolly, MD
Christine H Attenhofer-Jost, MD
Section Editor
William J McKenna, MD
Deputy Editor
Susan B Yeon, MD, JD, FACC


Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is a cardiomyopathy characterized by prominent left ventricular trabeculae and deep intertrabecular recesses [1,2]. The 2008 European Society of Cardiology Working Group on Myocardial and Pericardial Diseases categorized LVNC as an “unclassified” cardiomyopathy (table 1A-B) [2]. LVNC was previously also called spongy myocardium or hypertrabeculation syndrome but these terms should not be used interchangeably with LVNC [3].

This review will focus on LVNC as an isolated disorder distinct from other clinical settings in which non-compacted myocardium may be seen in association with other cardiac and non-cardiac abnormalities. The classification of cardiomyopathies is discussed separately. (See "Definition and classification of the cardiomyopathies".)


Left ventricular noncompaction (LVNC) is characterized by the following features:

An altered myocardial wall with prominent trabeculae and deep intertrabecular recesses, resulting in thickened myocardium with two layers consisting of non-compacted myocardium and a thin compacted layer of myocardium (picture 1) [4-6].

Continuity between the left ventricular cavity and the deep intratrabecular recesses, which are filled with blood from the ventricular cavity without evidence of communication to the epicardial coronary artery system.


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Literature review current through: Dec 2014. | This topic last updated: Dec 29, 2014.
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