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Int J Clin Exp Pathol. 2009 Sep 20;3(1):98-105.

Utility of desmin and a Masson's trichrome method to detect early acute myocardial infarction in autopsy tissues.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, State University of New York Downstate Medical Center, and New York Harbor Healthcare System, Brooklyn, NY 11209, USA.


Detection of early acute myocardial ischemia/infarction prior to neutrophilic infiltration in autopsy myocardium poses a diagnostic dilemma to the surgical pathologist. Morphological changes can be subtle or not identified at all on the hematoxylin and eosin stain. To evaluate the Masson's trichrome stain and immunohistochemical stains, desmin and myoglobin, in detecting acute myocardial ischemia/infarction in autopsy myocardium. We reviewed the autopsy files of the New York Harbor Healthcare System and retrieved 25 cases of early acute myocardial infarction. Three autopsy hearts of non-cardiac related deaths were used as controls. Sections from grossly suspected early acute myocardial infaction areas were stained by a Masson's trichrome stain technique and with desmin by a standard immnunohistochemical method. The ischemic zone surrounding myocardial infarction and the acute infarct itself in 23/25(92%) were detected by desmin depletion, and in all cases with Masson's trichrome color changes. No change in staining for desmin or Masson's trichrome were seen in the three controls. Desmin and Masson's trichrome together are valuable tools when faced with the problem of postmortem detection of early myocardial infarction/ischemia.


Desmin; Masson's trichrome stain; autopsy; myocardial infarction

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