15. Normal and hypertrophic cardiac muscle

Page created on October 2, 2018. Last updated on January 17, 2019 at 16:58

Staining: HE

Organ: Heart


We see two pieces of heart tissue. The piece in the upper right corner is from a healthy heart, while the piece in the lower left corner is from a diseased heart.

Comparing the two pieces, we can see that the diseased heart tissue has:

  • Lipofuscin in the cells
  • Enlarged nuclei
  • Interstitial fibrosis (pale morphology that differs from the rest of the myocardium)

Diagnosis: Hypertrophic cardiac muscle


  • See macropreparations 17 and 18


Most of the theory is written along with the macropreparations.

The only differences that can be seen in hypertrophic myocardium compared to normal is the presence of fibrosis and the enlarged nuclei of the cells. It’s important to note that not only infarction can lead to fibrosis, it can be seen in hypertrophy as well.

Lipofuscin can also be found in other tissues and diseases than hypertrophic myocardium (as you should know by now). It is therefore not characteristic for hypertrophy, but can be seen more commonly in hypertrophy.

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2 thoughts on “15. Normal and hypertrophic cardiac muscle”

  1. It is also very distinguished by the very enlarged cells! Several places the hypertrophic cells are four times bigger.

    1. I agree, however if the only specimen one has at hand is a hypertrophic myocardium is it hard to determine whether the cells are larger than normal or not. In my opinion are the three criteria 1: enlarged nuclei, 2: interstitial fibrosis, 3: increased lipofuscin are more characteristic and easier to identify. They’re also (according to my teacher) what you should show on an exam.

      Anyway, I’ve uploaded a picture that compares normal and hypertrophic myocardium so people can see the difference in cell size and nucleus size.

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