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Angiocentric Systemic Granulomatosis

Chute, Dennis J. MD; Rawley, James PA; Cox, John NREMTP; Bready, Robert J. MS; Reiber, Kari MD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181d3db65
Original Article

As part of a review of substance abuse deaths in Dutchess County, New York, the Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office identified 3 cases of angiocentric systemic foreign-body granulomatosis discovered at autopsy. Our investigation disclosed that in all 3 cases patients surreptitiously injected crushed oral prescription medication. Of the patients, 2 obtained intravenous access through central venous lines, the other patient was found to have injected herself intramuscularly. Autopsy demonstrated lung abnormalities due to diffuse deposits of foreign material within and around vessels, associated with foreign-body granulomatous reaction. We also identified a systemic distribution of this foreign material deposited beyond the lungs in the brain, heart, kidneys, and spleen. We present these cases along with a review of the literature of systemic embolization of foreign material in previously documented cases of deaths due to parenteral abuse of oral medications.

Author Information

From the Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office, Poughkeepsie, NY.

Manuscript received October 29, 2008; accepted April 11, 2009.

Reprints: Dennis J. Chute, MD, Dutchess County Medical Examiner's Office, 387 Main Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.