Twenty-three cases of endomyocardial disease (ED) are presented, studied in Venezuela, a tropical country in northern South America. The diagnosis was confirmed in 18 cases by means of pathological studies, and in 5 cases by angiocardiography which showed the characteristic obliterative ventricular lesions. Eosinophilia was present in 35% of the patients. The most frequent clinical feature was heart failure associated with mitral regurgitation. Systemic embolism was the first clinical feature in 5 cases. In 2 cases, ED was associated with autoimmune haemolytic anaemia or vasculitis. Necropsy revealed a predominance of the left-sided (9/16 cases) and biventricular (6/16 cases) types. The pathological lesions were characterised by fibrous thickening of the endocardium at the apex and the ventricular inflow tracts extending to the myocardium and involving the atrioventricular valves. ED is frequently misdiagnosed as rheumatic valvular cardiopathy. The two-dimensional echocardiogram is a very useful procedure for determining the spatial anatomy of ED. The echo findings were closely correlated with ventriculographic and necropsy findings. Even though ED is widely spread around the world, it is most frequently found in tropical and subtropical countries in Africa, Asia and America, such as Venezuela and Brazil. This suggests that there are aetiological factors in these latitudes, about which little is known.
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