Some clinically recognized disorders the cause or causes of which cannot be demonstrated by gross or microscopic anatomic changes are explained today on a functional or a pathologicophysiologic basis. For example, death is occasionally believed to be due to spasm of the coronary arteries, ventricular fibrillation, shock, or other functional disturbance. While undoubtedly fatal conditions are encountered for which a satisfactory explanation cannot be obtained by the use of present morphologic methods, it must be emphasized that such assumptions should be made only after careful study has ruled out the possibility of a morphologic explanation.
After analysis of a series of cases of fatty infiltration of the myocardium, it became evident that this myocardial lesion had caused a number of deaths which could not be explained clinically on a morphologic basis and therefore had been attributed to functional disorders. In other words, as a result of our studies, fatty infiltration