Blunt chest trauma (BCT) often results in blunt cardiac injuries of little clinical concern, but cases of severe heart damage with high mortality rates have also been described. In particular, BCT should never be underestimated, especially when it is located in the anterior thoracic region. Among traffic accidents, motorcyclists are the most vulnerable and at the greatest risk. We report the case of a 14-year- old boy who experienced BCT following a motorcycle accident. He was evaluated at the hospital and was found to be in good medical condition, without bruises or rib fractures. Electrocardiography revealed a left bundle branch block. The patient was kept overnight for observation and was discharged the following morning in a good health condition. However, five days later, the patient suddenly died. Autopsy revealed a cardiac contusion associated with a full-thickness myocardial rupture and massive hemopericardium. Histologically, hemorrhagic infiltration foci, fibrin deposits, neutrophilic granulocytes, and well-defined areas of necrosis were detected in the context of recent fibrosis. Coronary thrombosis was not observed. The cause of death was identified as cardiac contusion that caused myocardial necrosis and, ultimately, cardiac rupture. Because the boy suffered a recent BCT and was assessed at the hospital, issues of medical malpractice were raised. This case demonstrates the potential lethality of blunt chest trauma in pediatric patients and demonstrates the importance of not underestimating such events, even in the absence of clinically identified chest injuries.

Sudden death due to cardiac contusion: Forensic implications in a rare pediatric case / G. Gentile, S. Tambuzzi, G. Giovanetti, R. Zoia. - In: JOURNAL OF FORENSIC SCIENCES. - ISSN 1556-4029. - 66:5(2021 Sep), pp. 1996-2001. [10.1111/1556-4029.14741]

Sudden death due to cardiac contusion: Forensic implications in a rare pediatric case

G. Gentile
Primo
;
S. Tambuzzi
Secondo
;
R. Zoia
Ultimo
2021

Abstract

Blunt chest trauma (BCT) often results in blunt cardiac injuries of little clinical concern, but cases of severe heart damage with high mortality rates have also been described. In particular, BCT should never be underestimated, especially when it is located in the anterior thoracic region. Among traffic accidents, motorcyclists are the most vulnerable and at the greatest risk. We report the case of a 14-year- old boy who experienced BCT following a motorcycle accident. He was evaluated at the hospital and was found to be in good medical condition, without bruises or rib fractures. Electrocardiography revealed a left bundle branch block. The patient was kept overnight for observation and was discharged the following morning in a good health condition. However, five days later, the patient suddenly died. Autopsy revealed a cardiac contusion associated with a full-thickness myocardial rupture and massive hemopericardium. Histologically, hemorrhagic infiltration foci, fibrin deposits, neutrophilic granulocytes, and well-defined areas of necrosis were detected in the context of recent fibrosis. Coronary thrombosis was not observed. The cause of death was identified as cardiac contusion that caused myocardial necrosis and, ultimately, cardiac rupture. Because the boy suffered a recent BCT and was assessed at the hospital, issues of medical malpractice were raised. This case demonstrates the potential lethality of blunt chest trauma in pediatric patients and demonstrates the importance of not underestimating such events, even in the absence of clinically identified chest injuries.
autopsy, blunt chest trauma, cardiac contusion, cardiac rupture, forensic pathology, pediatric, sudden death;
Settore MED/43 - Medicina Legale
7-mag-2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/869347
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