Association of early electrical changes with cardiovascular outcomes in immune checkpoint inhibitor myocarditis

International ICI-Myocarditis Registry

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Immune-checkpoint inhibitor-associated myocarditis (ICI-myocarditis) often presents with arrhythmias, but the prognostic value of early electrocardiogram findings is unclear. Although ICI-myocarditis and acute cellular rejection (ACR) following cardiac transplantation use similar treatment strategies, differences in arrhythmia burden are unknown. Objective: To evaluate the association of electrocardiogram findings in ICI-myocarditis with myocarditis-related mortality and life-threatening arrhythmia. Methods: A total of 125 cases of ICI-myocarditis were identified retrospectively across 49 hospitals worldwide; 50 cases of grade 2R or 3R ACR were included as comparators. Two cardiologists blinded to clinical data interpreted electrocardiograms. Associations between electrocardiogram features, myocarditis-related mortality and the composite of myocarditis-related mortality and life-threatening arrhythmias were examined. Adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) were calculated. Results: The cohort had 78 (62.4%) men; median (interquartile range) age was 67 (58–76) years. At 30 days, myocarditis-related mortality was 20/124 (16.1%), and 28/124 (22.6%) met the composite endpoint. Patients who developed complete heart block (aHR by subdistribution hazards model [aHR(sh)] 3.29, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.24–8.68; P = 0.02) or life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias (aHR(sh) 6.82, 95% CI: 2.87–16.21; P < 0.001) had a higher risk of myocarditis-related mortality. Pathological Q waves (aHR(sh) 3.40, 95% CI: 1.38–8.33; P = 0.008), low QRS voltage (aHR(sh) 6.05, 95% CI: 2.10–17.39; P < 0.001) and Sokolow-Lyon index (aHR(sh)/mV 0.54, 95% CI: 0.30–0.97; P = 0.04) on admission electrocardiogram were also associated with increased risk of myocarditis-related mortality. These associations were mirrored in the composite outcome analysis. Compared with ACR, ICI-myocarditis had a higher incidence of life-threatening cardiac arrhythmias (15/125 [12.0%] vs 1/50 [2%]; P = 0.04) and third-degree heart block (19/125 [15.2%] vs 0/50 [0%]; P = 0.004). Conclusions: Electrocardiograms in ICI-myocarditis with ventricular tachycardias, heart block, low-voltage and pathological Q waves were associated with myocarditis-related mortality and life-threating arrhythmia. Arrhythmia burden in ICI-myocarditis exceeds that of ACR after heart transplant.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-330
Number of pages16
JournalArchives of Cardiovascular Diseases
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • Cardio-oncology
  • Electrophysiology
  • Immunotherapy
  • Myocarditis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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