Search tips
Search criteria 


Logo of jrsocmedLink to Publisher's site
J R Soc Med. 1983 October; 76(10): 863–869.
PMCID: PMC1439585

Diagnosis of coronary embolism: a review.


Coronary embolism is an uncommon but distinct clinical entity. It can be diagnosed clinically, and should be suspected when acute myocardial infarction occurs in association with an underlying condition which predisposes to embolism. The most common are valvular heart disease, a prosthetic heart valve, infective endocarditis, cardiomyopathy with mural thrombus and arrhythmia. The diagnosis may be obscured by atypical symptoms and transient ECG changes. The diagnosis is supported by the demonstration of normal coronary arteries by selective coronary arteriography. Treatment with long-term anticoagulants may prevent further emboli. Additional antiplatelet drugs are also necessary in patients with prosthetic heart valves.

Full text

Full text is available as a scanned copy of the original print version. Get a printable copy (PDF file) of the complete article (1.1M), or click on a page image below to browse page by page. Links to PubMed are also available for Selected References.

Images in this article

Click on the image to see a larger version.

Selected References

These references are in PubMed. This may not be the complete list of references from this article.
  • Arnett EN, Roberts WC. Acute myocardial infarction and angiographically normal coronary arteries. An unproven combination. Circulation. 1976 Mar;53(3):395–400. [PubMed]
  • Bean WB. Masquerades of myocardial infarction. Lancet. 1977 May 14;1(8020):1044–1046. [PubMed]
  • Benchimol A, Sandoval J. Coronary embolism in patients with mitral valve prosthesis. Chest. 1971 Nov;60(5):431–436. [PubMed]
  • Berger RL, Wong J, Messer JV. Coronary embolectomy for acute embolization. Am J Surg. 1972 Jun;123(6):726–728. [PubMed]
  • Campeau L, Lesperance J, Bourassa MG, Ashekian PB. Myocardial infarction without obstructive disease at coronary arteriography. Can Med Assoc J. 1968 Nov 2;99(17):837–843. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • Charles RG, Epstein EJ, Holt S, Coulshed N. Coronary embolism in valvular heart disease. Q J Med. 1982 Spring;51(202):147–161. [PubMed]
  • Dale J, Myhre E, Storstein O, Stormorken H, Efskind L. Prevention of arterial thromboembolism with acetylsalicylic acid. A controlled clinical study in patients with aortic ball valves. Am Heart J. 1977 Jul;94(1):101–111. [PubMed]
  • Hale G, Dexter D, Jefferson K, Leatham A. Value of coronary arteriography in the investigation of ischaemic heart disease. Br Heart J. 1966 Jan;28(1):40–54. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • McConnell RW, Fore WW, Taylor A. Embolic occlusion of the renal artery following arteriography. Successful management. Radiology. 1973 May;107(2):273–274. [PubMed]
  • Margolis JR, Kannel WS, Feinleib M, Dawber TR, McNamara PM. Clinical features of unrecognized myocardial infarction--silent and symptomatic. Eighteen year follow-up: the Framingham study. Am J Cardiol. 1973 Jul;32(1):1–7. [PubMed]
  • OAKLEY C, YUSUF R, HOLLMAN A. Coronary embolism and angina in mitral stenosis. Br Heart J. 1961 Jul;23:357–369. [PMC free article] [PubMed]
  • O'Reilly RJ, Spellberg RD. Rapid resolution of coronary arterial emboli. Myocardial infarction and subsequent normal coronary arteriograms. Ann Intern Med. 1974 Sep;81(3):348–350. [PubMed]
  • Pesendorfer F. Zum Mechanismus von Coronarembolien. Beitr Gerichtl Med. 1969;26:39–43. [PubMed]
  • Prizel KR, Hutchins GM, Bulkley BH. Coronary artery embolism and myocardial infarction. Ann Intern Med. 1978 Feb;88(2):155–161. [PubMed]
  • Rentrop P, Blanke H, Karsch KR, Kaiser H, Köstering H, Leitz K. Selective intracoronary thrombolysis in acute myocardial infarction and unstable angina pectoris. Circulation. 1981 Feb;63(2):307–317. [PubMed]
  • Richardson PM, Gotsman MS. Angiographic evidence of coronary embolism and resolution. S Afr Med J. 1971 Jul 24;45(29):805–809. [PubMed]
  • Ridolfi RL, Hutchins GM. The relationship between coronary artery lesions and myocardial infarcts: ulceration of atherosclerotic plaques precipitating coronary thrombosis. Am Heart J. 1977 Apr;93(4):468–486. [PubMed]
  • Roberts WC, Buja LM. The frequency and significance of coronary arterial thrombi and other observations in fatal acute myocardial infarction: a study of 107 necropsy patients. Am J Med. 1972 Apr;52(4):425–443. [PubMed]
  • Ross RS, Friesinger GC. Coronary arteriography. Am Heart J. 1966 Oct;72(4):437–441. [PubMed]
  • BAWELL MB, MORAGUES V, SHRADER EL. Coronary embolism. Circulation. 1956 Dec;14(6):1159–1163. [PubMed]
  • Uretsky BF, Farquhar DS, Berezin AF, Hood WB., Jr Symptomatic myocardial infarction without chest pain: prevalence and clinical course. Am J Cardiol. 1977 Oct;40(4):498–503. [PubMed]
  • Weily HS, Steele PP, Davies H, Pappas G, Genton E. Platelet survival in patients with substitute heart valves. N Engl J Med. 1974 Mar 7;290(10):534–537. [PubMed]
  • Weiss HJ. Antiplatelet therapy (first of two parts). N Engl J Med. 1978 Jun 15;298(24):1344–1347. [PubMed]
  • WENGER NK, BAUER S. Coronary embolism: review of the literature and presentation of fifteen cases. Am J Med. 1958 Oct;25(4):549–557. [PubMed]

Articles from Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine are provided here courtesy of Royal Society of Medicine Press