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Submitted: 28 Apr 2018
Accepted: 05 Sep 2018
First published online: 30 Sep 2018
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J Cardiovasc Thorac Res. 2018;10(3):138-143.
doi: 10.15171/jcvtr.2018.22
PMID: 30386533
PMCID: PMC6203870
  Abstract View: 379
  PDF Download: 245

Original Article

Dynamic cardiac anatomy: the “cypress tree” papillary muscle root  

Muhammad Shoaib Khan 1, Robert Biederman 1

1 Department of Cardiac MRI, Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh, USA


Introduction: The understanding of gross cardiac anatomy has been relatively stable over the last 80 years, reliant on well-established autopsy findings. The advent of dynamic imaging by cardiac MRI and CT provides a window to view anatomic features in vivo, providing insights typically masked at autopsy due to death. Hypothesis: We hypothesize that cardiac magnetic resonance (CMR) with its high spatial and temporal resolution allows detection of anatomic features not previously appreciated at autopsy.

Methods: Two hundred fifty-five sequential, CMR examinations were retrospectively examined to describe the anatomic features of the LV (left ventricular) PM (papillary muscles). Specifically, the origin of the base of the PM was delineated. The insertion of the PM was seen in 255/255 patients.

Results: In 249 out of 255 patients (97.6%), the appearance of the PM was not a uniform muscle arising from the inner face of the LV myocardium, but was a finger-like series of long, slender trabeculae carneae traversing >1 cm before inserting into the main body of PM challenging our previous understanding of PM anatomy.

Conclusion: The capabilities of dynamic CMR to view cardiac features in vivo non-invasively provides a useful tool to study cardiac anatomy. Unlike the widely accepted representation of papillary muscles, uniformly arising from the floor of the LV, the base resolves into a ‘cypress-tree’ root-like structure with multiple thin projections before coalescing into a thick muscle head. Such observations have far reaching clinical implications in areas such as mitral regurgitation, post-MI remodeling and electrical transmission of the His-Purkinje system, and further work is indicated to delineate the role of non-invasive imaging in these areas.

Please cite this article as: Khan MS, Biederman RW. Dynamic cardiac anatomy: the “cypress tree” papillary muscle root. J Cardiovasc Thorac Res 2018;10(3):138-143. doi: 10.15171/jcvtr.2018.22.
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