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Cardiovasc Pathol. 2005 May-Jun;14(3):135-44.

The spatial pattern of coronary capillaries in patients with dilated, ischemic, or inflammatory cardiomyopathy.

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Department of Medical Computer Sciences, Medical University of Vienna, Spitalgasse 23, Vienna A-1090, Austria.



The goal of the present study was to compare the pattern of coronary capillaries in healthy participants and in patients with end-stage heart failure due to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), ischemic cardiomyopathy (ICM), or inflammatory cardiomyopathy (InfCM).


Capillary patterns were studied in histological sections from resected hearts from patients with DCM (n=5), ICM (n=5), or InfCM (n=5) and compared with donor hearts showing no signs of cardiac disease (n=3). Patterns were characterized by the distribution of Voronoi polygon areas, A, associated with the centers of capillary profiles, nearest-neighbor distances, d, intercapillary distances (ICD), as well as by means of the pair correlation function g(r). The coefficient of variation of A, CV, was used to characterize capillary patterns as regular, random, or clustered.


CV increased from 30.5% (control) to 33.8% (DCM), 36.6% (ICM), and to 40.3% (InfCM). d was minimal in the control group (16.5+/-4.3 microm) and increased to 18.1+/-5.2 microm in the DCM group and to 20.9+/-6.8 and 20.6+/-6.6 microm in the ICM and InfCM groups, respectively. ICD increased from 25.6+/-7.9 (control) to 28.5+/-9.2 (DCM), 34.4+/-12.2 (ICM), and 33.6+/-12.0 microm (InfCM). In all groups, g(r) was markedly different from random points; in the control and DCM group, g(r) showed a weak but distinct first maximum, characteristic for short-range order in a point pattern.


Our data suggest that, for the patients studied, (1) the pattern of coronary capillaries is not purely random, (2) the regularity of the pattern diminishes from the control to DCM, ICM, and InfCM, and (3) ICD increases, whereas capillary density (CD) decreases, from control to DCM, ICM, and InfCM.

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