It can be hard to diagnose ARVD since the changes to the heart muscle may be subtle. ARVD is diagnosed based on medical history, physical exam, and tests (electrocardiogram, Holter monitor, electrophysiologic testing, echocardiogram, cardiac MRI, and/or cardiac CT scan, genetic testing).
Cardiac magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is recommended for the diagnosis of ARVD because the heart muscle of the right ventricle can be seen. This imaging test can detect the abnormal features found in the heart muscle of the right ventricle. If image quality is poor related to an irregular heart rhythm, then a cardiac CT scan can be done. Unlike MRI, a CT scan can be performed if the patient has an implanted device (pacemaker, defibrillator).
The diagnosis of ARVD can include all these findings:
- Abnormal function of the lower right chamber (ventricle) of the heart
- Fatty or fibrous-fatty deposits in the right ventricle heart muscle (myocardium)
- Abnormal heart rhythms (supraventricular tachycardia, ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation, especially with exercise)