Massive myocardial calcification in the perinatal period

Pediatr Dev Pathol. 1998 Sep-Oct;1(5):366-74. doi: 10.1007/s100249900050.


Massive myocardial calcification (MMC) in the perinatal period is an unusual finding considered to be a unique tissue reaction. This report summarizes the clinical and pathologic findings of seven cases of perinatal MMC. All patients presented clinical evidence of myocardial damage. In two cases arrhythmia was detected in utero. Four cases presented with hydrops, one of which was associated with major heart malformation. One case was a trisomy 13. Three cases had polyhydramnios. Our results demonstrate that calcification follows progressive stages from patches of calcified myocardial cells (stage I), to coagulative and colliquative myocytolysis with clusters of interstitial mononucleated cells (stage II), to collapsing fibrosis with granulation tissue and multinucleated regenerative myocardial cells (stage III), and finally to fibrous scars containing entrapped remaining myocardial cells (stage IV). Literature review and our findings suggest that perinatal MMC results from different conditions inducing hypoxic-ischemic damage that later is followed by progressive scarring if the patient survives the acute stage. The lesion may represent the human counterpart of the so-called dystrophic cardiac calcinosis in mice. This disease is related to an abnormality at the Dyscalc locus of proximal chromosome 7 (syntenic with human chromosome 19q13 and 11p15).

MeSH terms

  • Calcinosis / etiology
  • Calcinosis / pathology*
  • Calcium / analysis
  • Cardiomyopathies / etiology
  • Cardiomyopathies / pathology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age
  • Heart Ventricles / pathology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mitochondria / ultrastructure
  • Muramidase / analysis
  • Myocardium / chemistry
  • Myocardium / pathology*
  • Pericardium / pathology


  • Muramidase
  • Calcium