The paleopathology of the cardiovascular system

Tex Heart Inst J. 1993;20(4):252-7.


Paleopathology, the study of disease in ancient remains, adds the dimension of time to our study of health and disease. The oldest preserved heart is from a mummified rabbit of the Pleistocene epoch, over 20,000 years old. Cardiovascular disease has been identified in human mummies from Alaska and Egypt, covering a time span ranging from approximately 3,000 to 300 years ago. An experimental study suggests that the potential exists for identifying a wide range of cardiovascular pathologic conditions in mummified remains. The antiquity and ubiquity of arteriosclerotic heart disease is considered in terms of pathogenesis.

MeSH terms

  • Alaska
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / pathology*
  • Cardiovascular System / pathology*
  • Egypt
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Inuits
  • Male
  • Mummies / pathology*