Clinical and pathologic features of cardiac hemochromatosis diagnosed by endomyocardial biopsy in six men, aged 32 to 75 years (mean 52), are described. Echocardiography demonstrated left ventricular enlargement and marked global systolic dysfunction in five. Cardiac catheterization demonstrated normal coronary arteries, increased left ventricular end-diastolic pressure and decreased left ventricular systolic function in all five so studied. Stainable iron was present in all endomyocardial biopsy specimens from the five patients with decreased left ventricular systolic function. Histologically, iron was detected only within the sarcoplasm, and its extent varied inversely with ventricular function. Thus, cardiac hemochromatosis represents a storage rather than an infiltrative disease. These results indicate that stainable iron is consistently observed in endomyocardial biopsy specimens from patients with impaired left ventricular systolic function. Iron staining is recommended for endomyocardial biopsy specimens from patients with idiopathic cardiac dysfunction.
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