• Open Access

Family History of Dilated Cardiomyopathy among Patients with Heart Failure from the HF-ACTION Genetic Ancillary Study


Correspondence: Ray E. Hershberger (Ray.Hershberger@osumc.edu)



The value of family history (FH) is well established, but its sensitivity to detect familial dilated cardiomyopathy (FDC) has been infrequently examined.


A genetic ancillary study was created as a component of the HF-ACTION trial, a multicenter, prospective, randomized clinical trial of exercise in patients with heart failure and an ejection fraction <35%. A FH-based study using a structured questionnaire mailed to all consenting individuals was incorporated into the genetic ancillary. FH responses were analyzed for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) in family members.


Of the 741 individuals with data available, 358 (48.3%) had nonischemic and 383 (51.6%) had ischemic etiology, and of these 164 (45.8%) and 201 (52.4%), respectively, returned evaluable questionnaires. Of those with nonischemic etiology, 14/164 (8.5%) reported at least one first-degree family member with DCM or an enlarged heart; another 21/164 (12.8%) reported a FH of “cardiomyopathy,” a less specific term to indicate DCM.


At least 8.5% of patients with nonischemic etiology in the HF-ACTION genetic ancillary study provided FH indicating familial DCM, information important to inform further genetic analyses of this cohort and to plan other studies.