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Circulation. 1991 Sep;84(3):1188-97.

Anomalous insertion of papillary muscle directly into anterior mitral leaflet in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. Significance in producing left ventricular outflow obstruction.

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Pathology Branch, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Md. 20892.



Obstruction to left ventricular outflow in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is usually due to systolic anterior motion of the mitral valve. Occurrence of structural mitral valve abnormalities in HCM and their significance in producing outflow obstruction (even in the absence of typical systolic anterior motion) has not been fully appreciated.


Analysis of 78 mitral valves excised from patients with obstructive HCM showed that 10 (13%) had anomalous insertion of one or both left ventricular papillary muscles directly into the anterior mitral leaflet. This malformation was identified by echocardiography, which demonstrated direct continuity between the hypertrophied papillary muscle and mitral leaflet, resulting in a long rigid area of midcavity narrowing that appeared to be solely or largely responsible for outflow obstruction. Basal subaortic pressure gradients were large (70-150 mm Hg). Mitral valve replacement reduced the outflow gradient substantially to 0-15 mm Hg in four patients with postoperative cardiac catheterization. However, two other patients who underwent septal myotomy/myectomy had persistent symptoms and incomplete relief of obstruction (gradients 60 and 70 mm Hg) because of continued midcavity apposition of papillary muscle and ventricular septum.


Anomalous papillary muscle insertion into anterior mitral leaflet represents a mechanism of obstruction to left ventricular outflow in patients with HCM and differs considerably from typical dynamic obstruction caused by mitral valve systolic anterior motion that occurs in many other patients with HCM. Recognition of this malformation emphasizes the diverse morphological expression of HCM and also has important clinical implications for patients requiring operation because the gradient is likely to persist even after adequate myotomy/myectomy; consequently, mitral valve replacement would appear to be the operation of choice in most such patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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