Gerontology pp 93-106 | Cite as

Changes of Myocardial Structure with Aging

  • H. Frenzel
  • R. Zweihoff
  • B. Schwartzkopff
  • K.-F. Bürrig
Conference paper


The functional capacity of the heart declines with advancing age (Gerstenblith et al. 1976; Lakatta 1979; Lakatta und Yin 1982). The diminished cardiac adaptability to stress in senescence could provide an explanation why heart insufficiency and cardiac death occur in older people even upon only a minor increase in demand (Wei and Gersh 1987). Most of the morphological studies of the hearts of old people therefore have the aim of finding a structural correlate for the reduced functional capacity in old age. A whole range of findings on the hearts of elderly humans have been compiled (Pomerance 1968; Linzbach 1972): In autopsy studies, an increasing degree of coronary atherosclerosis was found with advancing age (Linzbach 1972) as well as increased fibrosis of the small intramural cardiac vessels (Rahlf 1980). Typical age-related changes of the cardiac valves are calcification of the mitral valve ring and the aortic valves (Pomerance 1967,1970; Pomerance et al. 1978; Waller and Roberts 1983). Mitral valve prolapse and mucoid degeneration are further alterations which are observed more frequently in senescent people (Pomerance 1969).


Volume Density Oxidative Capacity Capillary Density Endomyocardial Biopsy Heart Weight 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. Frenzel
    • 1
  • R. Zweihoff
    • 1
  • B. Schwartzkopff
    • 1
  • K.-F. Bürrig
    • 1
  1. 1.Pathologisches InstitutUniversität DüsseldorfDüsseldorf 1Germany

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