Ancient Heart Disease

May 21, 2011 by staff 

Ancient Heart DiseaseAncient Heart Disease, An Egyptian princess who lived over 3,500 years ago is the oldest person known to have had clogged arteries, dispelling the myth that heart disease is a product of modern society, according to a new study. To determine how heart disease was common in ancient Egypt, the scientists performed computer scanners in 52 mummies in Cairo and the United States. Among those who have had cardiac tissue, 44 were pieces of calcium sticking to the arteries – indicates obstruction.

“Atherosclerosis clearly existed over 3,000 years,” said Adel Allam, a professor of cardiology at the University of Al Azhar in Cairo, who led the study with Gregory Thomas, education director of nuclear cardiology at the University of California at Irvine. “We can not blame the disease of modern civilization.”

The research was presented Tuesday at a conference on imaging of the heart of Amsterdam.

Allam and colleagues found the Egyptian princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amun, who lived in Thebes – Luxor today – between 1540 and 1550 BC, had deposits of calcium in two major coronary arteries, is the oldest mummy found with heart disease. The father of the princess and her brother were the pharaohs.

“If today were my patient, she would receive open heart surgery,” said Allam.

Joep Perk, professor of health sciences at the University of Linnaeus in Sweden and a spokesman for the European Society of Cardiology, said heart disease was discovered in mummies probably because the diet and lack of exercise among the Egyptian elite. He was not connected to the investigation of the mummy.

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