Bovine cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia: a common incidental finding in adult cattle

Dayna A. Goldsmith, John M. Adaska

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia forming pale plaque lesions on the epicardial surface is a common incidental finding in the hearts of aged humans. A similar phenomenon with a more papillary appearance has also been reported as an incidental finding in dogs and mice. These lesions are believed to occur in response to friction between the epicardium and overlying pericardium. We investigated this lesion in adult cattle, a phenomenon that has been associated with bovine leukemia virus infection and epicardial lymphoma. We examined 73 hearts from adult cattle, predominantly of dairy breeds: 53 from a rendering facility and 20 from a state diagnostic laboratory. Cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia was much more prevalent in cattle than in other reported species (97% of examined hearts). The most common distribution was overlying the great vessels in a dark red papillary pattern. Cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia was also variably observed on all 4 cardiac chambers and the pericardium. Occasionally these lesions took on a smooth plaque-like appearance resembling those observed in humans. The lesions varied from 0.25 cm2 to covering 90% of the epicardial surface. No association was observed between cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia and bovine leukemia virus infection or cardiac lymphoma. Cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia was a common incidental finding in bovine hearts that must be distinguished from neoplasia and acute or chronic inflammation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)65-69
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Veterinary Diagnostic Investigation
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020


  • bovine
  • bovine leukemia virus
  • cardiac mesothelial hyperplasia
  • heart
  • pericardium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • veterinary(all)


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