Did Imperor Tiberius Die from Myocardial Infarction?

Maurice Pont


In Svetonius Life of the Twelve Cesars, in Tacitus Annals, and in Dio. Cassius Roman History, arguments can be found for the diagnosis of myocardial infarction in the case of the Roman emperor Tiberius. After violent and repeated efforts he felt an intense thoracic pain, and from that moment he became very ill and had to be carried in a litter. The course of the disease was marked by several syncopes with apparent death, some of long duration, but with spontaneous total recovery, except for the last one ( which occured when getting out of bed). Moreover, we know he had abnormalities of the pulse indicating a lethal prognosis. The most logical explanation is: myocardial infarction complicated with access of ventricular tachycardia, the last one ending in ventricular fibrillation. 

Key words: Tiberius - Roman world - Myocardial infarction

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