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Pathological features of hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy
  1. M. J. Davies,
  2. Ariela Pomerance1,
  3. R. D. Teare
  1. Department of Histopathology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London
  2. Department of Forensic Medicine, St George's Hospital Medical School, London
  3. Department of Histopathology, Northwick Park Hospital, Harrow


    The macroscopic features of hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy are variable. The most easily recognized picture is of disproportionate and asymmetrical left ventricular hypertrophy with a small ventricular volume. Symmetrical ventricular hypertrophy also occurs and dilatation of the ventricular cavity may lead to a configuration more usually associated with congestive cardiomyopathy. Papillary muscle involvement leads to a bullet shape, often retained even when the ventricle dilates. Eighteen of the hearts showed a distinctive band of fibrous thickening below the aortic valve. This was a mirror image of the free edge of the anterior mitral cusp, had the microscopic features of an endocardial friction lesion, and was clearly the morphological expression of the systolic contact between cusp and septum seen on cineangiography. This band is characteristic of hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy; it was more common in older patients and is of particular diagnostic value in cases with symmetrical hypertrophy, including those with dilated ventricular cavities.

    Sudden death was the commonest presentation in the younger cases but in several cases over 60 years at death hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy was an incidental necropsy finding.

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    • 1 In receipt of a grant from the British Heart Foundation.