Analysis of rheumatic valvulopathy with scanning electron microscopy
Rheumatic Heart Disease
There is a high incidence of rheumatic endocarditis in our environment. Therefore it is important to know the structural characteristics of the valvular lesions in order to better understand the physiopathologic pathways of tissue injury. We have chosen a non-conventional method, the scanning electron microscopy. There were very few such reports in the current literature. We analyzed ten mitral valve with rheumatic scarring lesion and five normal, as a control group. We were able to establish three structural patterns. 1) Stone pavement like (endocardium with nuclear bulge cells and marginal folds at the cell boundaries, abundant number of microvillous projections and few areas of endothelial loosening). 2) Cerebroid (subendothelium with wrinkles caused by deformity of the valve with or without endothelial loosening) and 3) Smooth pattern (flattened endothelium with scanty microvillous projections and abundant areas of endothelial denundation and exposition of subendothelium). More damage was noted in the auricular surface of the rheumatic group, characterized by a predominance of the smooth pattern. We found Lambl's excrecences in two mitral leaflets, they were formed by collagen break fascicles of the subendothelium. This technique allowed us to analyze integrity of the endocardial selective barrier and the interactions between the damaged surface of the valve and elements of the peripheral blood and showed more endocardial injury in the rheumatic group. These alterations could play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease.