Myxoid heart disease: An assessment of extravalvular cardiac pathology in severe mitral valve prolapse

Azorides R. Morales, Renzo Romanelli, Robert J. Boucek, Larry G. Tate, Rafael T. Alvarez, Joseph T. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Because of the microscopic features of the affected leaflets in mitral valve prolapse (MVP), myxoid degeneration of the valve is a common pathologic designation applied to this condition. We undertook this study as a means of gaining an insight into the occurrence and prevalence of extravalvular cardiac alterations in hearts with severe MVP. Tissues of 24 hearts with severe myxomatous transformation of the mitral valve as the sole cardiac abnormality were examined. Eighteen of the 24 subjects with severe MVP died suddenly. Only two of these had pathologic evidence of severe mitral insufficiency. Twenty-four normal hearts served as controls. The two groups of hearts came from victims of homicide, suicide, accident, or natural death. Sections of the mitral valve, working myocardium, conduction system, and cardiac nerves and ganglia were studied by routine and special connective tissue and proteoglycan stains. Similar to the findings in severely affected mitral valves, prominent deposits of proteoglycans in neural and conduction tissue readily distinguished hearts with myxomatous valve changes from the control hearts. We conclude that the commonly recognized local derangement of valvular tissue in MVP is but one specific reflection of a more general myxomatous alteration in cardiac connective tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalHuman pathology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1992


  • cardioneuropathy
  • conduction system
  • mitral valve prolapse
  • myxoid degeneration
  • sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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