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Spontaneous External Rupture of Femoral Pseudoaneurysm: Fatal Hemorrhage Related to Drug Abuse

Lardi, Christelle MD; Fracasso, Tony MD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology:
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3182518e47
Case Reports

Abstract: Drug abuse can lead to many life-threatening complications, the most frequent of which are overdoses and infections.

We report here the case of a 38-year-old long-term drug abuser found dead in a near-sitting position on his bed at home, by his roommate. A pillow imbued with blood was recovered on his right groin region. At autopsy, we observed a ruptured pseudoaneurysm (false aneurysm) of the right common femoral artery. No obvious signs of infection were present. This article focuses the attention of the reader on an unusual complication of parenteral drug abuse with a rare but potentially lethal outcome; to the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of a fatal hemorrhage from a ruptured arterial femoral pseudoaneurysm as a complication of drug injection in the forensic literature.

Author Information

From the University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva, Geneva, Switzerland.

Manuscript received July 14, 2011; accepted October 20, 2011.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Christelle Lardi, MD, University Center of Legal Medicine, Lausanne-Geneva, Rue Michel-Servet 1, 1211 Geneva 4, Switzerland. E-mail:

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© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.