Egyptian mummy `first to have diseased heart`

Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon was from an illustrious Egyptian family.

Updated: May 22, 2011, 08:51 AM IST

London: An Egyptian princess, who lived 3,500 years ago, is thought to be the first known person to have had heart disease, say researchers.

An international team, which analysed the remains of 52 mummies, including that of the princess, claims that she would have needed a heart bypass surgery if she was living now, for scans have revealed she had coronary artery disease.

Princess Ahmose-Meryet-Amon was from an illustrious Egyptian family. She lived in what is now Luxor from the year 1580 BC, and died in her 40s. Her mummified body has been kept at the National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo.

According to the researchers, the princess, who lived on a diet rich in vegetables, fruit, limited meat and plenty of fish from Nile river, had extensive blockages in arteries leading to her heart, brain, stomach and legs.

The researchers say that her case shows heart disease pre-dates a modern lifestyle.

Dr Gregory Thomas at University of California, who led the team, was quoted by the `BBC` as saying, "There was no gas or electricity at that time, so presumably she had an active lifestyle.

"Her diet was significantly healthier than ours. She would have eaten fruit and vegetables and fish were plentiful in the Nile at that time. The food would have been organic -- and there were no trans-fats or tobacco available then.

"Yet, she had these blockages. This suggests to us that there`s a missing risk factor for heart disease -- something that causes it that we don`t yet know enough about."