Regional thicknesses and thickening of compacted and trabeculated myocardial layers of the normal left ventricle studied by cardiovascular magnetic resonance

Dana K. Dawson, Alicia M. Maceira, Vimal J. Raj, Catriona Graham, Dudley J. Pennell, Philip J. Kilner

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76 Citations (Scopus)


Background— We used cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) to study normal left ventricular (LV) trabeculation as a basis for differentiation from pathological noncompaction.

Methods and Results— The apparent end-diastolic (ED) and end-systolic (ES) thicknesses and thickening of trabeculated and compacted myocardial layers were measured in 120 volunteers using a consistent selection of basal, mid, and apical CMR short-axis slices. All had a visible trabeculated layer in 1 or more segments. The compacted but not the trabeculated layer was thicker in men than in women (P<0.01 at ED and ES). When plotted against age, the trabeculated and compacted layer thicknesses demonstrated opposite changes: an increase of the compact layer after the fourth decade at both ED and ES (P<0.05) but a decrease of the trabeculated layer. There was age-related preservation of total wall thickness at ED but an increase at ES (P<0.05). The compacted layer thickened, whereas the trabeculated layer thinned with systole, but neither change differed between sexes. With age, the most trabeculated LV segments showed significantly greater systolic thinning of trabeculated layers and, conversely, greater thickening of the compact segments (P<0.05). Total wall thickening is neither sex nor age dependent. There were no sex differences in the trabeculated/compacted ratio at ES or ED, but the ES trabeculated/compacted ratio was smaller in older (50 to 79 years) versus younger (20 to 49 years) groups (P<0.05).

Conclusions— We demonstrated age- and sex-related morphometric differences in the apparent trabeculated and compacted layer thicknesses and systolic thinning of the visible trabeculated layer that contrasts with compacted myocardial wall thickening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-146
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation. Cardiovascular imaging
Issue number2
Early online date30 Dec 2010
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2011


  • adult
  • age distribution
  • age factors
  • aged
  • aged, 80 and over
  • analysis of variance
  • female
  • heart ventricles
  • humans
  • image interpretation, computer-assisted
  • isolated noncompaction of the ventricular myocardium
  • magnetic resonance imaging
  • male
  • middle aged
  • myocardium
  • observer variation
  • predictive value of tests
  • reference values
  • reproducibility of results
  • sex distribution
  • sex factors
  • young adult


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