Acute idiopathic interstitial myocarditis: case report with special reference to morphological characteristics of giant cells

J Clin Pathol. 1986 Nov;39(11):1209-16. doi: 10.1136/jcp.39.11.1209.


Necropsy findings of an acute fatal case of idiopathic interstitial myocarditis were reported. The patient was a 33 year old housewife who had acute cardiac failure on the sixteenth day after the onset of the disease. Necropsy showed important pathological changes confined to the heart. Both ventricles were affected by confluent granulomas with an ill defined patchy appearance. Histologically these lesions consisted of round cells, histiocytes, eosinophils and myogenic giant cells. The findings were compatible with those of interstitial myocarditis associated with a proliferation of giant cells. Both atriums were also affected to a minor extent, detectable only by histological examination. Electron microscopy and cytochemistry showed that most giant cells noted in the lesion showed myofibrils and primary lysosomes in the cytoplasm. Giant cells were positive for myoglobin. Though the macrophage origin of the giant cell in this disorder has been emphasised in a recent report, these cytological results suggest that giant cells observed in the cardiac granulomatous lesions of this case were mainly myogenic in origin.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology
  • Female
  • Granuloma, Giant Cell / etiology
  • Granuloma, Giant Cell / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Myocarditis / complications
  • Myocarditis / pathology*
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Myocardium / ultrastructure