Santa Rosa is an exceedingly well preserved mummy dating back to the XIII century BC. It is conserved in the monastery of the same name, Santa Rosa, located in Viterbo, near Rome.1 In 1995, the Section of Anthropology of the State University “G. d’Annunzio” of Chieti was entrusted with the preservation of the mummified body. Scientific examination provided an opportunity to collect anthropological and pathological data using modern techniques. Examination has confirmed that Santa Rosa was a gracile girl, who died at the age of 18-19 years.1 Investigations showed total agenesis of the sternum–a variant of Cantrell’s Syndrome. We examined the heart of Santa Rosa, which was removed from her chest in 1921.1 The heart of Santa Rosa is a mummified specimen of small dimensions lacking the great arteries and systemic and pulmonary veins (figure A). External and internal inspections with a lens and stereomicoscope, and radiography were done (figure B). Although the posterior walls of the atria had already been removed, the appendages suggest situs solitus of the atria and the morphology of the ventricles indicate atrioventricular concordance with d-loop of the ventricles. The apex of the heart is bifid due to a diverticulum of the left ventricle. The low intensity radiograph shows a right deviation of the ventricular septum and the presence of a mass, probably a thrombus, between the apex of the left ventricle and the entry of the diverticulum. Ventricular diverticulum is one of the most frequent heart defects described in patients with Cantrell syndrome and is frequently associated with development of thrombus and subsequent embolisation. It has been suggested that Santa Rosa died of tuberculosis. However, biomolecular and paleopathological analyses of the mummy1 showed no evidence that an infectious chronic disease occurred in vitam. The present data suggest that a cardiac embolism could have been the cause of her death.
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