Ötzi the Iceman: troubles at heart!

(c) South Tyrol Museum of Archaeologiemuseum / O. Verant

Calcifications in the Iceman’s heart

Ötzi the Iceman’s heart, even though it stopped beating a long time ago, is still of great interest to medicine some 5,300 years after his death. A team led by the radiologist Patrizia Pernter from Bozen-Bolzano has analysed high-resolution computer tomography images and established the existence of three calcifications in his coronary arteries. Calcifications were also in evidence in the region of Ötzi’s carotid artery and in the arteries at the base of his skull.

Previous investigations of his skeleton and muscles had indicated that the Iceman had been a very active walker and had been constantly on the move. According to today’s lifestyle recommendations he was anything but a ‘couch potato’. Which is why Patrizia Pernter was able to reach the conclusion that a genetic predisposition is an important trigger factor for arteriosclerosis and coronary heart disease, not just for Ötzi, but in for us all.

Interested parties will find more detailed information in the press briefing.

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