Stress and the Induction of Intravascular Platelet Aggregation in the Heart
Intravascular aggregation of platelets similar to that found in dogs after norepinephrine infusion was demonstrated using the electron microscope in the hearts of 20 of 23 rats subjected to two forms of stress (immersion in hot water, 7 of 8 rats; repeated small electric shocks to the feet, 13 of 15 rats). Only one of 14 unstressed rats was found to have similar intravascular platelet aggregates. These findings suggest that catecholamines secreted endogenously during stress are sufficient to cause platelets to aggregate intravascularly and raise the possibility that clinical myocardial infarction occurring during severe or prolonged stress may be caused by catecholamine-induced platelet thrombi which occur at, or travel to, and occlude a coronary artery already narrowed by previous atherosclerosis.
- Received January 9, 1973.
- Accepted March 5, 1973.
- © 1973 American Heart Association, Inc.