Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood:A Report of 50 Cases

Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital and Health Center, San Diego, CA 92123, USA.
Pediatric and Developmental Pathology (Impact Factor: 0.87). 01/2005; 8(3):307-19. DOI: 10.1007/s10024-005-1155-8
Source: PubMed


Sudden unexplained death in childhood (SUDC) is rare, with a reported incidence in the United States of 1.5 deaths per 100,000 live births compared with 56 deaths per 100,000 live births for sudden infant death syndrome in 2001. The objectives of this study include a proposal for a general definition for SUDC and presentation of 36 cases of SUDC and 14 cases of sudden unexpected death in childhood. Cases were accrued through referrals or unsolicited via our Web page ( ). Our analyses tentatively suggest a SUDC profile characterized by cases being 1 to 3 years in age, predominantly male, and frequently having a personal and family history of seizures that are often associated with a fever. A history of recent minor head trauma is not uncommon. They are usually born at term as singletons and occasionally have a family history of sudden infant death syndrome or SUDC. Most are found prone, often with their face straight down into the sleep surface. Minor findings are commonly seen at postmortem examination but do not explain their deaths. Comprehensive review of the medical history and circumstances of death and performance of a complete postmortem examination including ancillary studies and extensive histologic sampling of the brain are critical in determining the cause of death in these cases of sudden unexpected childhood death. Legislation enabling research and formation of a multicenter research team is recommended to unravel the mystery of SUDC.

22 Reads
  • Source
    • "European groups as well as groups from USA and Australia proposed protocols for the management and investigation of cases of SUDI, which emphasize the multidisciplinary nature of these investigations and set the autopsy in the context of a greater whole [7]. Even though the developmental anatomy and physiology of infants and children are different, the sophisticated investigative methods developed during clinical, pathological, and laboratorial research into SIDS can and should be applied to sudden unexpected death in childhood (SUDC) [8]. Sudden death in childhood is rare. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Unexpected child death investigation is a difficult area of forensic practice in view of the wide range of possible genetic, congenital, and acquired natural and nonnatural causes. Idiopathic infantile arterial calcification (IIAC) is a rare autosomic recessive disease usually diagnosed postmortem. Inactivating mutations of the ENPP1 gene were described in 80% of the cases with IIAC. We report a case of a 5-year-old girl submitted to a forensic autopsy due to sudden death and possible medical negligence/parents child abuse. Major alterations found (intimal proliferation and deposition of calcium hydroxyapatite around the internal elastic lamina and media of arteries; acute myocardial infarct, stenotic and calcified coronary artery; perivascular and interstitial myocardial fibrosis; and subendocardial fibroelastosis) were diagnostic of IIAC. We reviewed IIAC cases published in the English literature and highlight the importance of adequate autopsy evaluation in cases of sudden child death.
    Pathology Research International 07/2010; 2010:185314. DOI:10.4061/2010/185314

  • Pediatric and Developmental Pathology 03/2006; 9(2):168-9. DOI:10.2350/11-05-0134.1 · 0.87 Impact Factor
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: A 26-day-old male infant who had been fussy and feeding poorly for a period of several hours died suddenly despite efforts at resuscitation. Postmortem examination revealed eosinophilic endomyocarditis unassociated with disease in other organs. The etiology remained unexplained after review of the medical and family histories and circumstances of death, extensive light and immunofluorescence microscopies, and microbiological, metabolic, and toxicologic testing. This appears to be the youngest reported case of eosinophilic endomyocarditis, a disorder that typically occurs in middle-age males and is often associated with benign or malignant hypereosinophilic conditions. The medical literature is reviewed.
    Pediatric and Developmental Pathology 10/2005; 8(5):587-92. DOI:10.1007/s10024-005-0042-7 · 0.87 Impact Factor
Show more

Similar Publications