Cardiac pathology in 2007 consecutive forensic autopsies

Bruce F. Waller, Bruce Waller, Michele J. Catellier, Michael A. Clark, Dean Hawley, John E. Pless

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


The incidence of various types of cardiovascular disease was evaluated in 2007 consecutive forensic patients. Cardiovascular deaths accounted for 22.8% of the study patients and atherosclerotic coronary heart disease was the most common type of cardiac disease (18%). Among subjects dying of atherosclerotic coronary disease, sudden death was three times more frequent than acute myocardial infarction. Expected cardiac findings included the incidence of severe coronary atherosclerosis (21%), floppy mitral valves (5%), and congenital bicuspid aortic valves (1%). Major cardiac findings occurred in 32% and minor cardiac findings were found in 40%. Only 17% of hearts were anatomically normal. An unexpected cardiac necropsy finding included the high frequency of myocardial bridges (23%). Unexpected cardiac findings included the low incidence of acute myocarditis (0.6%) and common finding of tunneled epicardial coronary arteries ('myocardial bridges') (23%).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)760-765
Number of pages6
JournalClinical cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiac disease
  • cardiomyopathy
  • congenital heart disease
  • forensic
  • sudden death
  • valve disease

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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    Waller, B. F., Waller, B., Catellier, M. J., Clark, M. A., Hawley, D., & Pless, J. E. (1992). Cardiac pathology in 2007 consecutive forensic autopsies. Clinical cardiology, 15(10), 760-765.