Suicidal ingestion of food which the victim is aware they are allergic to is an exceptional occurrence in the forensic field. To the best of our knowledge, no cases of suicidal food anaphylaxis have been reported to date. Therefore we present the first case described in the literature. A 30-year-old prisoner was found dead inside his cell with the remains of a peach remains next to his body, and a handwritten farewell note in his pocket. The autopsy revealed only non-specific findings, while laboratory investigations (serological, toxicological, histological, and immunohistochemical) played a pivotal role in determing the cause and manner of death. In particular, a high titer of both total and specific IgE antibodies was detected, as well as an increase of the tryptase level in cadaveric blood. Moreover, a massive concentration of salicylates was measured in the gastric contents. Microscopically, cellular residues characterized by a vegetal structure were observed in the gastric contents and elements suggestive of mast cells were detected in the glottis, lungs, and myocardium. The immunohistochemical investigation with anti-CD117 and anti-tryptase antibodies showed positivity for mast cells, some of which appeared degranulated. Such findings were entirely consistent with an acute systemic anaphylactic reaction triggered by allergy. Therefore, the prisoner’s death was attributed to self-induced food anaphylaxis caused by the ingestion of peaches. This conclusion was achieved based only on circumstantial data, anamnestic information, autopsy findings, and multiple laboratory results. This integrated approach should be used to pursue a post-mortem diagnosis of anaphylaxis.

Postmortem diagnostics of assumed suicidal food anaphylaxis in prison: a unique case of anaphylactic death due to peach ingestion / S. Tambuzzi, G. Gentile, M. Boracchi, D. Di Candia, R. Bianchi, R. Zoja. - In: FORENSIC SCIENCE, MEDICINE AND PATHOLOGY. - ISSN 1547-769X. - 17:3(2021 Sep), pp. 449-455. [10.1007/s12024-021-00373-1]

Postmortem diagnostics of assumed suicidal food anaphylaxis in prison: a unique case of anaphylactic death due to peach ingestion

S. Tambuzzi;G. Gentile;D. Di Candia;R. Zoja
2021

Abstract

Suicidal ingestion of food which the victim is aware they are allergic to is an exceptional occurrence in the forensic field. To the best of our knowledge, no cases of suicidal food anaphylaxis have been reported to date. Therefore we present the first case described in the literature. A 30-year-old prisoner was found dead inside his cell with the remains of a peach remains next to his body, and a handwritten farewell note in his pocket. The autopsy revealed only non-specific findings, while laboratory investigations (serological, toxicological, histological, and immunohistochemical) played a pivotal role in determing the cause and manner of death. In particular, a high titer of both total and specific IgE antibodies was detected, as well as an increase of the tryptase level in cadaveric blood. Moreover, a massive concentration of salicylates was measured in the gastric contents. Microscopically, cellular residues characterized by a vegetal structure were observed in the gastric contents and elements suggestive of mast cells were detected in the glottis, lungs, and myocardium. The immunohistochemical investigation with anti-CD117 and anti-tryptase antibodies showed positivity for mast cells, some of which appeared degranulated. Such findings were entirely consistent with an acute systemic anaphylactic reaction triggered by allergy. Therefore, the prisoner’s death was attributed to self-induced food anaphylaxis caused by the ingestion of peaches. This conclusion was achieved based only on circumstantial data, anamnestic information, autopsy findings, and multiple laboratory results. This integrated approach should be used to pursue a post-mortem diagnosis of anaphylaxis.
Food anaphylaxis; Peaches; Prison; Salicylates; Suicide; Tryptase
Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale
3-mag-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/851545
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