Ruptured intercalated discs

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Author: Mikael Häggström [notes 1]

Ruptured intercalated discs, in this case regarded as a visual artifact, and was not reported.

Ruptured intercalated discs of myocytes of the heart have two main causes:

  • Microtome processing, thereby being a visual artifact,[1] not needing reporting.
  • Forceful myocardial contraction, at least in case of heart autopsy. This is mainly caused by ventricular fibrillation[2] or electric shock,[3]

If a lab often cause it as a visual artifact, it may be ignored in the report.[notes 2] If not, look for signs indicating forceful myocardial contraction, and thereby the mentioning of the findings in the report. Such signs are:[2][3]

  • Alternating bundles of hypercontracted myocytes with hyperdistended ones.
  • Square-shaped myocardiocyte nuclei.
  • Hyperdistended myocardiocytes with detached sarcomeres, and in proximity of hypercontracted myocardiocytes.


  1. For a full list of contributors, see article history. Creators of images are attributed at the image description pages, seen by clicking on the images. See Patholines:Authorship for details.
  2. Repeated artifacts from a lab motivates measures to improve techniques.

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  1. Page 38 in: Giorgio Baroldi (2004). The Etiopathogenesis of Coronary Heart Disease: A Heretical Theory Based on Morphology, Second Edition . CRC Press. ISBN 9781498712811. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 Page 55 in: Vittorio Fineschi, Giorgio Baroldi, Malcolm D. Silver (2016). Pathology of the Heart and Sudden Death in Forensic Medicine . CRC Press. ISBN 9781420006438. 
  3. 3.0 3.1 Fineschi, Vittorio; Karch, Steven B.; D'Errico, Stefano; Pomara, Cristoforo; Riezzo, Irene; Turillazzi, Emanuela (2005). "Cardiac pathology in death from electrocution ". International Journal of Legal Medicine 120 (2): 79–82. doi:10.1007/s00414-005-0011-8. ISSN 0937-9827.