Procedures—Cats were physically and echocardiographically examined by 2 investigators independently. Left ventricular wall thickness was determined via 2-dimensional echocardiography in short-axis and long-axis planes. Left ventricular hypertrophy was identified when end-diastolic measurements of the interventricular septum or posterior wall were ≥ 6 mm. Cats with left ventricular hypertrophy but without left ventricular dilatation were considered to have hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). The associations between heart murmurs and Doppler echocardiographic velocity profiles indicative of dynamic ventricular outflow tract obstruction were evaluated.
Results—Heart murmurs were detected in 16 (15.5%; 95% confidence interval, 9.2% to 24.0%) cats; of these, 5 had cardiomyopathy. Cardiomyopathy was also identified in 16 (15.5%; 95% confidence interval, 9.2% to 24.0%) cats; 15 had HCM, and 1 had arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy. Of the cats with HCM, 11 had segmental left ventricular hypertrophy, 3 had diffuse left ventricular hypertrophy, and 1 had borderline left ventricular hypertrophy with marked systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve. Sensitivity and specificity of auscultatory detection of a heart murmur for diagnosing cardiomyopathy were 31% and 87%, respectively. Echocardiographic evidence of late systolic acceleration within ventricular outflow tracts was associated with the existence of a heart murmur.
Conclusions and Clinical Relevance—Cardiomyopathy was common in the healthy cats evaluated in this study. In apparently healthy cats, detection of a heart murmur is not a reliable indicator of cardiomyopathy.