Cardiosclerosis (from the Greek καρδία "heart" and σκληρός "hard") is pathology of the heart muscle, characterized by proliferation of connective scar tissue in the myocardium, replacement of muscle fibers and deformation of the valves.
Development of areas of cardiosclerosis occurs at the site of death of myocardial fibers, which entails first compensatory hypertrophy of the myocardium, then dilatation of the heart with the development of relative valvular insufficiency. Cardiosclerosis is a frequent outcome of atherosclerosis of coronary arteries, ischaemic heart disease, myocarditis of various genesis, myocardial dystrophy.
Two forms of cardiosclerosis are distinguished morphologically:
Focal and moderately expressed diffuse cardiosclerosis often can be clinically asymptomatic. For the diagnosis of diffuse cardiosclerosis, the main symptoms are heart failure and myocardial contractility disorder. They are the greater the greater the area of functional myocardial tissue is replaced by the connective tissue.
Disorders of conduction and rhythm are noted as palpitations, arrhythmia. With the development of the phenomena of heart failure, shortness of breath, edemas, pain in the heart, a decrease in endurance to physical exertion, etc. appear.
Cardiosclerosis proceeds with gradual progression and alternation of periods of relative remission lasting up to several years.