Coronary artery narrowing in coronary heart disease: comparison of cineangiographic and necropsy findings

Ann Intern Med. 1979 Sep;91(3):350-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-91-3-350.


Of 10 patients with fatal coronary heart disease undergoing coronary angiography 0 to 69 d (average, 21) before necropsy, the amount of narrowing in 61 coronary arteries observed angiographically (diameter reduction) during life by three angiographers was compared with that observed histologically (cross-sectional area) at necropsy. No overestimations of the degree of narrowing were made angiographically. Of 11 coronary arteries or their subdivisions narrowed 0 to 50% in cross-sectional area histologically, none were underestimated angiographically; of eight narrowed 51% to 75% histologically, seven had been underestimated, and of 42 narrowed 76% to 100% histologically, 17 were underestimated angiographically. The coronary atherosclerotic plaquing was diffuse (greater than 25% cross-sectional area narrowing) in 90% of 467 five-millimetre segments of coronary artery examined (24 cm per patient), and this diffuseness of the atherosclerotic process seems to be the major reason for angiographic underestimation of coronary narrowings.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cineangiography
  • Coronary Angiography
  • Coronary Disease / diagnostic imaging
  • Coronary Disease / pathology*
  • Coronary Vessels / pathology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged