IPLab:Lab 3:Acute Myocardial Infarction

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Clinical Summary[edit]

This 78-year-old male experienced a posterior myocardial infarction six years prior to this admission. Recently, he had begun to experience occasional angina. Four days prior to death, he experienced anterior chest pain and discomfort which he regarded as not too distressing. However, EKGs showed a classic acute anterior myocardial infarction in addition to the healed posterior infarct. The patient progressively deteriorated with left ventricular failure and died with arrhythmias and pulmonary edema. Pertinent laboratory data are:

  1. Aspartate Aminotransferase (AST) 60 IU/L.
  2. Total Creatine Phosphokinase (CPK) 165 IU/L. All of the activity was due to CPK III (MM) isoenzyme fraction; no CPK (MB) activity was detectable.
  3. Troponin I 38 µg/L.

Autopsy Findings[edit]

Examination of the heart showed a healed posterior infarct. The right coronary artery was completely occluded but partially recanalized. The left main coronary artery had severe atherosclerotic stenosis and a thrombus filling the lumen. The entire anterolateral aspect of the left ventricle was soft with variegated areas appearing hyperemic or pale. There was extensive mural thrombosis and reactive pericarditis.


Virtual Microscopy[edit]

Heart: Acute Myocardial Infarction[edit]

Normal Heart[edit]

Study Questions[edit]

Additional Resources[edit]


Journal Articles[edit]


Related IPLab Cases[edit]

Myocardial infarction is necrosis of myocardial tissue which occurs as a result of a deprivation of blood supply, and thus oxygen, to the heart tissue. Blockage of blood supply to the myocardium is caused by occlusion of a coronary artery.

Angina pectoris is chest pain produced by myocardial ischemia, it worsens upon exertion.

Arrhythmias are abnormal heart rhythms.

Pulmonary edema refers to the accumulation of fluid in the pulmonary alveolar and tissue spaces as a result of changes in capillary permeability and/or increases in capillary hydrostatic pressure.

AST is a NON-SPECIFIC marker of myocardial infarction (i.e., it is also elevated in other conditions, such as liver disease and skeletal muscle injury). AST levels peak at 48--72 hours following the infarction. A normal AST level would be less than 37 IU/L.

An elevated total CPK (a collective measure of all CPK isoenzymes) is a NONSPECIFIC marker for myocardial infarction. However, an elevation in the level of CPK-MB isoenzyme is a more specific marker for myocardial infarction. The CPK-MM isoenzyme is specific for skeletal muscle. CPK levels begin to rise 4-8 hours following an infarction, usually peak within the first 24-48 hours, and then return to baseline within 3-4 days. A normal CPK level is 35 to 250 IU/L.

Troponin I is a muscle contractile protein that is increased in serum after myocardial necrosis, it is a sensitive and specific marker of acute MI, and better than CK-MB as a cardiac injury marker. Normally troponin I values are less than 10 µg/L but values can rise 5 to 50 times after an acute myocardial infarction.

Recanalization is the process of the forming of channels through an organized thrombus so that blood flow is restored.

A thrombus is a solid mass resulting from the aggregation of blood constituents within the vascular system.

Mural thrombosis is the formation of multiple thrombi along an injured endocardial wall.

Pericarditis is inflammation of the pericardium - often with deposition of fibrin.

Mural thrombosis is the formation of multiple thrombi along an injured endocardial wall.

An occlusion is a blockage.