Septal Infarct: What Is It?
Septal infarct (also known as pseudo septal infarct) is a condition where the blood vessels that supply the heart with oxygen do not completely close off after death. These vessels are called pseudo septum and pseudo-septum. Pseudo-septum is located at the junction between two major veins, which supply blood to your heart. When these veins become blocked, it results in the heart’s failure. This is because when the blood flow to one vein becomes too low, it causes the other vein to fill up with blood and thus prevents the heart from pumping properly.
The problem with pseudo-septal infarct is that it does not cause any symptoms until very late stage of cardiac arrest. Thus, it is often missed during autopsy. Also, the actual location of the blockage is difficult to determine. Therefore, it may take several days or even weeks before you notice any signs of pseudo-septal infarct.
What Causes Septal Infarct?
In most cases, there are no obvious causes for pseudo-septal infarct. However, some factors such as obesity and smoking can contribute to its development.
How Does Pseudo-Septal Infarct Develop?
Pseudo-septal infarct causes what is known as “venous hypertension”. This means that the veins become blocked and the heart receives too little blood.
The oxygen supply to the heart is reduced and this can ultimately lead to IF (infarction of the heart). In some cases, this can cause the heart to stop beating.
Who Is At Risk?
Many people are at risk of developing pseudo-septal infarct. Obesity, smoking, and a sedentary lifestyle increase the risk of developing the condition.
However, pseudo-septal infarct may also occur in young, healthy people without any risk factors.
What Are The Symptoms?
The symptoms mimic those of a heart attack, and include the following:
Pain in the chest
Lightheadedness or dizziness
How Is It Diagnosed?
Pseudo-septal infarct is usually diagnosed during an autopsy procedure.
How Is It Treated?
There is no specific treatment for pseudo-septal infarct because it can only be diagnosed post-mortem.
However, there are several steps you should follow if you experience any of the symptoms listed above. These include:
Sit down and rest immediately. Get someone to call emergency services and do not resume normal activity until the ambulance arrives.
If you have heart problems, wear a medical id bracelet and make sure the people around you know about your condition.
Do not take any medication until you have spoken to a medical professional.
How Can I Prevent It?
There are several steps you can take to prevent the development of pseudo-septal infarct:
Make sure to exercise on a regular basis.
Achieve and maintain a healthy weight.
Make sure to eat a balanced diet.
Take care of any other medical conditions, such as diabetes or high blood pressure.
In addition, if you experience any of the following symptoms you should seek immediate medical attention:
Dizziness upon standing
Loss of Vision
Nausea or Vomiting
Shortness of breath
Weakness in your arms, legs or face.
Pseudo-septal infarct is a medical condition that can be difficult to detect during life. The condition often leads to sudden death due to cardiac arrest.
The condition is most common in post-menopausal women and men over the age of 50. You should seek immediate medical attention if you experience any of the symptoms listed above.
Sources & references used in this article:
IV. Correlation of electrocardiographic and pathologic findings in infarction of the interventricular septum and right ventricle by GB Myers, HA Klein, T Hiratzka – American Heart Journal, 1949 – Elsevier
Role of controlled septal infarct in hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy by CD NIELSEN, WH SPENCER III – Cardiology in review, 2002 – journals.lww.com
Early onset and progression of left ventricular remodeling after alcohol septal ablation in hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy by WG Van Dockum, AM Beek, FJ Ten Cate… – Circulation, 2005 – Am Heart Assoc
Coronary artery bypass grafting within 30 days of an acute myocardial infarction by TK Kaul, BL Fields, SL Riggins, GC Dacumos… – The Annals of thoracic …, 1995 – Elsevier
Postmortem evaluation of morphologic changes in the infarcted myocardium that predict ventricular septal rupture in acute anteroseptal infarction by M Okabe, K Fukuda, K Arakawa – Japanese circulation journal, 1999 – jstage.jst.go.jp
Septal ethanol ablation for hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy: early and intermediate results of a Canadian referral centre. by R Bhagwandeen, A Woo, J Ross, ED Wigle… – The Canadian journal …, 2003 – europepmc.org