A geochemical basis for endomyocardial fibrosis

Cardiovasc Res. 1986 Sep;20(9):679-82. doi: 10.1093/cvr/20.9.679.


In a search for geochemical factors that could play a role in the pathogenesis of tropical endomyocardial fibrosis, endomyocardial tissue samples obtained from patients at necropsy or operation were analysed for major elements present in laterite and monazite, which are important soil constituents of Kerala State of India. Atomic absorption spectrophotometry was used for detecting iron, silicon, aluminium, zinc, magnesium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and manganese and neutron activation analysis for thorium. Compared with control samples from victims of fatal accidents, an excess of thorium, sodium, and calcium and a deficiency of magnesium were present in samples from patients. It has been shown earlier that the staple diets of people in Kerala have high concentrations of thorium, and these data show that thorium can become concentrated in cardiac tissues. It is speculated that thorium excess in conjunction with magnesium deficiency may play a role in the causation of tropical endomyocardial fibrosis.

MeSH terms

  • Endomyocardial Fibrosis / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Magnesium / analysis
  • Myocardium / analysis*
  • Thorium / analysis
  • Trace Elements / analysis*


  • Trace Elements
  • Thorium
  • Magnesium