Document Detail

Unusual case of right atrial reinfarction.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22281221     Owner:  NLM     Status:  In-Data-Review    
It is well known that atrial infarctions are rare comparing to the ventricular. They cannot easily be verified on ECG and the standard autopsy technique does not include a detailed review of the atrial wall, so the atrial infarction often remains undiagnosed. A 63-year-old male was treated and died in an intensive care unit due to decompensated liver insufficiency and cardiac disease following long-lasting alcohol abuse. At autopsy, the extreme cardiomegaly was found, severe atherosclerosis of the anterior descending branch of left coronary artery. The posterior wall of the right atrium was thickened (cca 9 mm) in diameter of cca 3 × 3 cm, and this area was yellowish in the luminal part, while the central part was filled with dark red blood. A detailed dissection of the coronary arteries showed the complete occlusion of the atrial branch of the right coronary artery wreath as far as the place of sinoatrial artery branching, which corresponded anatomically to the described area of infarction on the posterior wall of the right atrium. Histopathological examination of the previously described area of the posterior wall of the right atrium, showed four zones of heart muscle changes: 1. zone of partially preserved structure of the heart muscle, 2. zone of cellular (immature) connective tissue, 3. areas of bleeding in cellular connective tissue, and 4. zone of acellular (old) connective tissue. These histopathological changes indicated that the posterior wall of the right atrium was affected by myocardial necrosis in at least two and possibly more times. It is reasonable to think that bleeding in the third zone of the posterior wall of the right atrium contributed greatly to the death due to the anatomical proximity to the sinoatrial node. It was confirmed by the existence of bradycardia with a prolonged PR interval, PR segment elevation in D1 and aVL lead and PR depression in the D3 lead on the ECG. These ECG changes appeared immediately before asystolia and the death of the patient, but not ventricular fibrillation or electromechanical dissociation due to ventricular infarction. The presented case shows that detailed autopsy examination of atrial wall and blood vessels can sometimes be crucial in disclosing the cause and mode of death if the ischemia and necrosis attack only the atrial wall, especially in the region of the heart conduction system.
Nemanja Radojevic; Slobodan Savic; Vuk Aleksic; Dragana Cukic
Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article     Date:  2011-10-28
Journal Detail:
Title:  Journal of forensic and legal medicine     Volume:  19     ISSN:  1878-7487     ISO Abbreviation:  J Forensic Leg Med     Publication Date:  2012 Feb 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-01-27     Completed Date:  -     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101300022     Medline TA:  J Forensic Leg Med     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  105-8     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright © 2011 Elsevier Ltd and Faculty of Forensic and Legal Medicine. All rights reserved.
Department of Forensic Medicine, Clinical Centre of Montenegro, Podgorica, Ljubljaska 1, Montenegro.
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