Heart Attack Pathology (Photo Essay)

  • Medical Author:

    Dr. Fishbein received his undergraduate and medical degrees from the University of Illinois. He completed a residency in anatomic and clinical pathology at Harbor General Hospital/UCLA Medical Center. He is board certified in anatomic and clinical pathology.

  • Medical Editor: Leslie J. Schoenfield, MD, PhD
    Leslie J. Schoenfield, MD, PhD

    Leslie J. Schoenfield, MD, PhD

    Dr. Schoenfield served as associate professor of medicine and consultant in gastroenterology on the faculty of the Mayo Clinic for seven years. He became a professor of medicine in residence at UCLA from 1972 to 1999 (now emeritus). He was the director of gastroenterology at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles for 25 years, where he received the chief resident's teaching award, the president's award, and the pioneer of medicine award.

  • Medical Reviewer: Jay W. Marks, MD
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

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Can a person have more than one heart attack?

Yes. Not uncommonly, people with coronary artery disease have more than one heart attack over the years. In fact, by looking at the heart tissue at autopsy, pathologists can tell when myocardial infarctions occurred. Thus, very recent (acute, hours old) infarctions may appear as a pale brown region, infarctions days old (subacute) appear yellow, and healed (weeks to years old) infarctions appear as white scars in the heart muscle. Figure 5 shows three myocardial infarctions of different ages in the muscle of a left ventricle.

Figure 5: Three Myocardial Infarctions of Different Ages; Slice Across Heart Ventricles

Picture of Different Stages of Myocardial Infarctions
Picture of Different Stages of Myocardial Infarctions

Medically reviewed by Robert J. Bryg, MD; Board Certified Internal Medicine with subspecialty in Cardiovascular Disease

REFERENCE:

"Mechanical complications of acute myocardial infarction"
uptodate.com

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 6/29/2015

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