Anitschkow nuclear changes in postmortem pericardial scrapings

C. P. Molina, V. J. Schnadig

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVE: To document the presence of Anitschkow nuclear changes (ANC) in pericardial mesothelium at autopsy after the incidental finding of ANC in pericardial scrapings from a fatal case of overwhelming sepsis. STUDY DESIGN: Fourteen, nonconsecutive autopsy cases were studied. Using the edge of a scalpel, the visceral pericardium from the left ventricle was scraped, and the sample was smeared onto glass slides, fixed in 95% ethanol, Papanicolaou stained and evaluated for the presence of ANC. Histologic correlation was also performed. RESULTS: ANC were observed in pericardial mesothelial cells in 6 of 14 cases. Sepsis was the cause of death in three. Fatal cardiac arrhythmia, T-cell lymphoma and fulminant hepatic necrosis were found in the remaining cases. While readily seen in cytologic preparations, ANC were found focally in only one case examined histologically. CONCLUSION: Postmortem cytologic evaluation provides information relevant to the autopsy. In this study, ANC were very clearly seen in six pericardial scrapings. Clinical correlation supports the current theory that ANC represent a nonspecific reactive cell change.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)197-200
Number of pages4
JournalActa Cytologica
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2001
Externally publishedYes


  • Anitschkow nuclear changes
  • Autopsy
  • Pericardium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Histology


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