Egyptian Mummy’s Heart Failure is Oldest Yet

The oldest case of acute decompensated heart failure has been found in 3,500-year-old mummified remains, a research team announced at the international congress of Egyptology in Florence.

Nebiri's mummified head at left and, at right, the broken canopic jar containing Nebiri's lungs.

Consisting of just a head and canopic jars containing internal organs, the remains were found in a plundered tomb by the Italian Egyptologist Ernesto Schiaparelli in 1904 in the Valley of the Queens, Luxor, and are now housed at the Egyptian Museum in Turin.

They belong to an Egyptian dignitary named Nebiri, a “Chief of Stables” who lived under the reign of 18th Dynasty pharaoh Thutmoses III (1479-1424 BC).

“The head is almost completely unwrapped, but in a good state of preservation. Since the canopic jar inscribed for Hapy, the guardian of the lungs, is partially broken, we were allowed direct access for sampling,” Raffaella Bianucci, an anthropologist in the legal medicine section at the University of Turin, told Discovery News.

She investigated the mummified remains with researchers from the Universities of Turin, Munich and York.

Detailing the findings at the conference, Bianucci reported that Nebiri was middle aged