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Rare disease
Aortic valve ochronosis: a rare manifestation of alkaptonuria
  1. Christina Maria Steger
  1. Pathology Department, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria
  1. Correspondence to Professor Christina Maria Steger, Christina.M.Steger{at}


Alkaptonuric ochronosis is a heritable disorder of tyrosine metabolism, with various systemic abnormalities related to pigment deposition and degeneration of collagen and other tissues, including the heart and aorta.

A 65-year-old woman with alkaptonuric ochronosis and a history of four joint replacements required aortic valve replacement for severe aortic stenosis. Operative findings included ochronosis of a partly calcified aortic valve and the aortic intima. The aortic valve was removed at surgery and histologically investigated. Light microscopic examination of the aortic valve revealed intracellular and extracellular deposits of ochronotic pigment and a chronic inflammatory infiltrate.

Beside the case representation, the disease history, aetiology, pathogenesis, clinical presentation and treatment of aortic valve ochronosis are reviewed.

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  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.