Evidence of aortic dissection and Marfan syndrome in a mummy from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily
Publication date: September 2018
Source: International Journal of Paleopathology, Volume 22
Author(s): Stephanie Panzer, Randall C. Thompson, Klaus Hergan, Albert R. Zink, Dario Piombino-Mascali
The authors report on the assessment of an anthropogenic mummy of a young man from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, tentatively dated from the mid- to late 19th century AD. The mummy was investigated by full-body CT examination. CT images clearly showed aortic dissection classified as Stanford-A. Due to the relation of aortic dissection to inherited connective tissue diseases in young people, such as Marfan syndrome, conspicuous and pathological findings possibly indicating the presence of underlying Marfan syndrome were assessed. Several systemic features were scored that supported the presence of underlying Marfan syndrome in this mummy. These findings were: pectus carinatum and chest asymmetry, dural ectasia, protrusio acetabuli, dolichocephaly, down-slanting palpebral fissures, malar hypoplasia and (probable) reduced elbow extension. Aortic dissection, a cardinal feature of Marfan syndrome, turned out to be the diagnostic key for the paleoradiological diagnosis of this disease. The demonstrated CT findings contribute to the spectrum of cardiovascular diseases and inherited connective tissue disease in the fields of paleopathology and paleoradiology.