Importance Calcium-release deficiency syndrome (CRDS), which is caused by loss-of-function variants in cardiac ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2), is an emerging cause of ventricular fibrillation. However, the lack of complex polymorphic/bidirectional ventricular tachyarrhythmias during exercise stress testing (EST) may distinguish it from catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT). Recently, in the first clinical series describing the condition, mouse and human studies showed that the long-burst, long-pause, short-coupled ventricular extra stimulus (LBLPS) electrophysiology protocol reliably induced CRDS ventricular arrhythmias. Data from larger populations with CRDS and its associated spectrum of disease are lacking.
Objective To further insight into CRDS through international collaboration.
Design, Setting, and Participants In this multicenter observational cohort study, probands with unexplained life-threatening arrhythmic events and an ultrarare RyR2 variant were identified. Variants were expressed in HEK293 cells and subjected to caffeine stimulation to determine their functional impact. Data were collected from September 1, 2012, to March 6, 2021, and analyzed from August 9, 2015, to March 6, 2021.
Main Outcomes and Measures The functional association of RyR2 variants found in putative cases of CRDS and the associated clinical phenotype(s).
Results Of 10 RyR2 variants found in 10 probands, 6 were loss-of-function, consistent with CRDS (p.E4451del, p.F4499C, p.V4606E, p.R4608Q, p.R4608W, and p.Q2275H) (in 4 [67%] male and 2 [33%] female probands; median age at presentation, 22 [IQR, 8-34] years). In 5 probands with a documented trigger, 3 were catecholamine driven. During EST, 3 probands with CRDS had no arrhythmias, 1 had a monomorphic couplet, and 2 could not undergo EST (deceased). Relatives of the decedents carrying the RyR2 variant did not have EST results consistent with CPVT. After screening 3 families, 13 relatives were diagnosed with CRDS, including 3 with previous arrhythmic events (23%). None had complex ventricular tachyarrhythmias during EST. Among the 19 confirmed cases with CRDS, 10 had at least 1 life-threatening event at presentation and/or during a median follow-up of 7 (IQR, 6-18) years. Two of the 3 device-detected ventricular fibrillation episodes were induced by a spontaneous LBLPS-like sequence. β-Blockers were used in 16 of 17 surviving patients (94%). Three of 16 individuals who were reportedly adherent to β-blocker therapy (19%) had breakthrough events.
Conclusions and Relevance The results of this study suggest that calcium-release deficiency syndrome due to RyR2 loss-of-function variants mechanistically and phenotypically differs from CPVT. Ventricular fibrillation may be precipitated by a spontaneous LBLPS-like sequence of ectopy; however, CRDS remains difficult to recognize clinically. These data highlight the need for better diagnostic tools and treatments for this emerging condition.