Indian Journal of Pathology and Microbiology
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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2009  |  Volume : 52  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 486-489

Coronary atherosclerosis in sudden cardiac death: An autopsy study


1 Department of Pathology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Ramachandra Universiy, Porur, Chennai-600 116, India
2 Zena and Wiener Cardiovascular Institute, The Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, USA
3 Department of Forensic Medicine, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Ramachandra Universiy, Porur, Chennai-600 116, India

Correspondence Address:
D Prathiba
Department of Pathology, Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai - 600 116
India
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DOI: 10.4103/0377-4929.56130

PMID: 19805952

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Background: The incidence of ischemic heart disease (IHD) has markedly increased in India over the past few years. Considering the variations in racial, dietary and lifestyle patterns in our population, it is essential to study the biology of coronary atherosclerosis in our patients. Vulnerable plaques have a large number of foam cells, extracellular lipid, thin fibrous caps and clusters of inflammatory cells and are more prone to rupture. These plaques are nourished by the microvessels arising from the vasa vasorum of the blood vessels and by lumen-derived microvessels through the fibrous cap. This autopsy study was designed to analyse the coronary arterial tree in cases of sudden cardiac death, classify coronary atherosclerotic plaques and to assess the factors contributing to vulnerability of the plaques including inflammation, calcification and microvascular density. Materials and Methods: Seven cases of sudden cardiac death were included in the study. The hearts were perfusion-fixed and the coronary arteries along with their main branches were dissected and studied. The location of the plaques, type of plaques, presence of inflammation and calcification were assessed. The cap thickness and microvessel density per 1000um 2 were assessed. The statistical significance was estimated. Results and Conclusions: Extensive high-grade coronary atherosclerotic disease was seen in all sudden cardiac death cases. Majority of the plaques were vulnerable. High-grade inflammation was seen in most of the vulnerable and ruptured plaques. All the ruptured plaques were uncalcified indicating that calcification probably stabilizes the plaques and protects against rupture. Increased microvessel density was noted in ruptured plaques compared to vulnerable plaques. However, it was not statistically significant.


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