Science & Technology, Life Sciences & Biomedicine, Pathology, heart, infant, fibrosis, pulmonary artery, morphometry, lung biopsy, pulmonary hypertension, congenital heart disease, VENTRICULAR SEPTAL-DEFECT, LUNG-BIOPSY, ARTERIES, CHILDHOOD, DENSITY, REPAIR, Adolescent, Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Arteries, Biopsy, Child, Child, Preschool, Female, Heart Defects, Congenital, Hemodynamics, Humans, Infant, Infant, Newborn, Lung, Male, Middle Aged, Pulmonary Alveoli, 1103 Clinical Sciences
Open lung biopsy is performed in patients with congenital heart disease to determine the suitability for surgical correction. Controversy exists as to whether arterial density can be graded with certainty. We studied the influence on the grading (Heath-Edwards) of two morphometric techniques. Lung tissue from 14 controls and biopsy specimens from 80 patients with atrial septal defect (n=10) ventricular septal defect (n=27), complete atrioventricular canal (n=27), miscellaneous lesions (n=8) and tetralogy of Fallot (n=8) were analyzed with a planimetric method. Additionally, wall thickness was determined in 52 patients by distance measurements. The ratio of alveoli/arteries per area of lung tissue was measured. Medial thickness was "increased" on distance measurements in 15% of the cases where planimetric data showed normal wall thickness. The ratio of alveoli/arteries varied up to 43% from the mean. Hemodynamic data obtained at a median (range) time of 2 months (1 day to 18 months) before the operation did not correlate with morphologic findings. In 27 patients hemodynamic data were recorded at a median time of 1 year (3 days to 44 months) after the operation. Intimal fibrosis occupying more than 10% of the vessel lumen was associated with persistent high pulmonary vascular resistance. We conclude that morphometric techniques are useful to determine the degree of fibrosis in advanced vascular lesions. Arterial density cannot be determined in biopsy specimens with adequate certainty.