Interstitial myocardial fibrosis in a captive chimpanzee (Pan troglodytes) population.
The clinical and necropsy records of 36 (25 male and 11 female) chimpanzees age 10 to 40 y old that died over a 6-y period (2001 to 2006) were reviewed. All animals had annual physical exams that included electrocardiograms and serial blood pressures. Nine of the 36 animals had a complete cardiac evaluation by a board certified veterinary cardiologist, and 7 of the 36 animals (19%) were diagnosed with some form of cardiomyopathy. Systemic hypertension was noted in 3 cases. Cardiac arrhythmias (ventricular ectopy) were seen in 15 (12 male and 3 female) of the 36 animals (42%). Sudden cardiac death (SCD) occurred in 13 (11 male and 2 female) chimps (36%) and was the leading cause of death (n = 13), followed by renal failure (n = 9) and septicemia (n = 3). Histologic examination of the hearts revealed interstitial myocardial fibrosis (IMF) in 29 chimpanzees (81%), and all of the animals that died suddenly due to cardiac causes had IMF to varying degrees. More data will be needed to identify the possible causes of IMF in captive chimpanzees, and IMF may be associated with arrhythmias and SCD in these animals.