St. Louis Public Radio News
7:59 am
Thu March 5, 2009

Enlarged heart played role in chimpanzee death

St. Louis, MO –

St. Louis Zoo officials say Cinder, a 14-year-old hairless chimpanzee that died in February, had an enlarged heart. The Zoo's Dr. Eric Miller says the enlarged heart may have caused a fatal arrhythmia, resulting in a heart attack.

Miller says Cinder hadn't shown signs of heart disease before her death. He says her sudden death is similar to cases of healthy athletes who collapse unexpectedly on the playing field.

"It's an unfortunate situation, but it's one in which there's very little than can be done to diagnose it before it happens."

Miller says the autoimmune disease which caused Cinder to lose her hair was unrelated to her heart condition.