congenital heart lesion--what is that?

Five months ago, my 31 year old sister died, and just today we received the autopsy report. According to the doctor, my sister died from heart failure caused by a “lesion” (am I spelling that right?) that she was born with. However, at the very young age of 22, my sister suffered from a “v-tack” and had a pacemaker put in. We assumed another v-tack was the cause of death all this time, but apparently not. (She had previously broken her collar bone and up until this point, the theory was that the injury damaged her pacemaker.) The doctor said a lesion like that is only detectable through a biopsy, so people really don’t know about these things until they drop dead from them.

My sister left behind a 7 year old son, and we’re concerned that maybe he could have inherited the same problem.

My dad also died of a heart attack (which is different from your heart actually stopping–what happened to my sister, right?) when he was 55 or thereabouts.

My uncle died of a heart attack when he was 40.

My mom has a minor heart problem.

  1. how can I find out the scoop on “heart lesions” and

  2. with my family history, should I be concerned? (I eat healthy, don’t smoke, do all the right things, etc.)


errr…I guess I should have worded my question like this:

What kind of heart lesion would only be detected through a biopsy?

This is all coming from the doctor to my mom and then to me–I’m not looking at an actual report or anything.

There’s been some confusion surrounding my sister’s death–we’ve been waiting for this report for months and I’m just trying make sense of what I’ve been told.

I don’t know what kind of lesion it could be, but “v-tach” is short for ventricular tachycardia, which means a rapid heart rate of the ventricle (probably left ventricle), which is a very serious problem.

Sorry for your loss.

You really need to get the details from the physicians who took care of your sister and reviewed the post-mortem records to get the straight dope on what it is, and what to be concerned about. Without that information, all we’d be doing here is guessing.

Ask them specific questions like: What is it? Is it a risk for the rest of the family? Where do I find out more information on this specific heart problem?


It’s really hard to tell based on the info you gave/received. My best guesses would be she either had a septal defect where blood passes from the left side of the heart to the right, which, over time, can cause congestive heart failure but I would suspect that as it progressed, she would have had symptoms. The other annomaly that I’m suspicious of is an accessory conduction pathway which can cause dysrhythmias (irregular often fast heart beat). One being Wolf-Parkinson-White syndrome. Try and get some more info from the autopsy report. I’m not sure but I don’t think these two conditions have a significant genetic predisposition.

Thanks. I will google WPW. From what I understand the dysrhythmia stuff (what she was diagnosed with proceeding the pacemaker) was caused by the lesion, but the pacemaker couldn’t save her from whatever else was going on.

To the others, my apologies…I realized after it was too late that this was sort of a dumb question. My mom is too fragile to be pressed for details–she may not even understand it herself. So I came here. My other sister and I are going to bring the report to one of my sister’s old cardiologists to get a more detailed explanation of her condition.

Thanks again. :slight_smile: