Author + information
- Received November 22, 1985
- Revision received March 24, 1986
- Accepted April 24, 1986
- Published online September 1, 1986.
- Barry J. Maron, MD, FACC*,1,
- James K. Wolfson, MS1,
- Stephen E. Epstein, MD, FACC1 and
- William C. Roberts, MD, FACC1
- ↵*Address for reprints: Barry J. Maron, MD, National Institutes of Health, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, Building 10, Room 7B-15, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.
Many patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy have signs and symptoms of myocardial ischemia and dysfunction. Although hypertrophy and increased left ventricular pressure can account for such abnormalities, altered small intramural coronary arteries have also been described in such patients. To determine the prevalence and extent as well as the clinical relevance of abnormal intramural coronary arteries, a histologic analysis of left ventricular myocardium obtained at necropsy was performed in 48 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (but without atherosclerosis of the extramural coronary arteries) and in 68 control patients with either a normal heart or acquired heart disease.
In hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, abnormal intramural coronary arteries were characterized by thickening of the vessel wall and a decrease in luminal size. The wall thickening was due to proliferation of medial or intimai components, or both, particularly smooth muscle cells and collagen. Of the 48 patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, 40 (83%) had abnormalities of intramural coronary arteries located in the ventricular septum (33 patients), anterior left ventricular free wall (20 patients) or posterior free wall (9 patients); an average of 3.0 ± 0.7 abnormal arteries were identified per tissue section. Altered intramural coronary arteries were also significantly more common in tissue sections having considerable myocardial fibrosis (31 [74%] of 42) than in those with no or mild fibrosis (31 [30%] of 102; p < 0.001). Abnormal intramural coronary arteries were also identified in three of eight infants who died of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy before 1 year of age.
In contrast, only rare altered intramural coronary arteries were identified in 6 (9%) of the 68 control patients (0.1 ± 0.05 abnormal arteries per section; p < 0.001) and those arteries showed only mild thickening of the wall and minimal luminal narrowing. Moreover, of those patients with abnormal intramural coronary arteries, such vessels were about 20 times more frequent in patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (0.9 ± 0.2/cm2myocardium) than in control patients (0.04 ± 0.02/cm2myocardium).
Hence, abnormal intramural coronary arteries with markedly thickened walls and narrowed lumens are present in increased numbers in most patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy studied at necropsy and may represent a congenital component of the underlying car-diomyopathic process. Although the clinical significance of ”small vessel coronary artery disease“ in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is unclear, the occurrence of structurally altered intramural coronary arteries in areas of substantial myocardial fibrosis suggests a causal role for these arteries in producing ischemia.
- Received November 22, 1985.
- Revision received March 24, 1986.
- Accepted April 24, 1986.
- American College of Cardiology Foundation