Tel.+49 30 838 62450 Fax.+49 30 838 62522
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common form of feline heart disease. To date, reliable morphometric reference data for anatomical or histological changes are unavailable. The aim of this study was to identify diagnostically relevant morphometric criteria that clearly distinguish feline HCM from normal hearts. Hearts from 15 cats with HCM had increased weights (g per distance between the first and eighth vertebral bodies) when compared with hearts from 15 matched control cats. Several anatomically defined and digitally scanned areas of standardized cross sections were significantly increased in HCM when compared with controls, including the area across the entire heart half-way between the coronary sulcus and apex, the right and left ventricular walls and the ventricular septum. Differences were similar when the papillary muscles were included in the measurements of the right and left ventricular walls and the ventricular septum. Histological morphometric analyses failed to identify any significant differences, including the diameter and cross-sectional area of cardiomyocytes and the length, width or areas of cross-sectioned nuclei. In addition, morphometric analyses failed to identify any differences in the amount of cardiomyocyte fibre branching or myocardial fibrosis. Thus, only the relative weight and macroscopical analyses proved useful in distinguishing feline hearts with HCM from normal hearts. The results do not uphold the hypothesis that increased cardiomyocyte diameter is a principal change in feline HCM.