The coronary arteries and left ventricle in clinically isolated angina pectoris: a necropsy analysis.
Certain clinical and morphologic observations are described in 27 patients with severe isolated angina pectoris of either the stable (five patients) or the unstable form (22 patients). Twenty-four patients died during or shortly after cardiac operations designed to relieve angina pectoris and three died during cardiac catheterization. During life none had had clinical evidence of acute myocardial infarction or congestive cardiac failure. At necropsy, each had diffuse, extensive coronary atherosclerosis with severe luminal narrowing: the lumens of at least two, an average of three, of the four major epicardial coronary arteries were narrowed greater than 75% in cross-sectional area by old atherosclerotic plaques. Despite the severe coronary narrowing, there was little myocardial damage. Left ventricular scarring (excluding papillary muscle) was observed grossly in only 14 (52%) of the 27 patients and in each it involved only a small portion of myocardial wall. The left ventricular cavity was of normal size in all except two patients. The hearts were of normal weight in 15 (56%) patients, and the average increase above the upper range of normal for the other 12 hearts was 19%. Thus, clinically isolated, severe angina pectoris is associated with severe, diffuse luminal narrowing but relatively little myocardial damage.
- Copyright © 1976 by American Heart Association