Research Article

A somatic component to myocardial infarction.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985; 291 doi: (Published 06 July 1985) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1985;291:13
  1. A S Nicholas,
  2. D A DeBias,
  3. W Ehrenfeuchter,
  4. K M England,
  5. R W England,
  6. C H Greene,
  7. D Heilig,
  8. M Kirschbaum


    Sixty two patients were randomised to be seen by osteopathic physicians for palpation of the thoracic paravertebral soft tissue, T1-T8. Twenty five patients had clinically confirmed acute myocardial infarction. Of the remainder, 22 without known cardiovascular disease served as controls and 15 were placed in an excluded group because of diagnosed cardiovascular disease other than myocardial infarction. Observations were described in predetermined standard terminology. The control group was found to have a low incidence of palpable changes throughout the thoracic dorsum, and these changes were uniformly distributed from T1 to T8. Examination of the group with myocardial infarction disclosed a significantly higher incidence of soft tissue changes (increased firmness, warmth, ropiness, oedematous changes, heavy musculature), confined almost entirely to the upper four thoracic levels. The 15 patients who were excluded from the experimental group because they had various cardiovascular diseases other than myocardial infarction also showed significantly different changes on palpation compared with the group with myocardial infarction. These findings suggest that myocardial infarction is accompanied by characteristic paravertebral soft tissue changes which are readily detected by palpation.