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The Unexpected Finding of a Benign Mature Teratoma in a Forensic Pathology Autopsy: A Rare Cause for Sudden, Unexpected Death

Høyer, Christian Bjerre MD, PhD*; Ulhøi, Benedicte Parm MD; Charles, Annie Vesterby MD, DMSc*

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: December 2013 - Volume 34 - Issue 4 - p 302–305
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3182a18983
Case Reports

Abstract: Intracranial teratomas are rare tumors that are usually discovered in infancy due to progressive symptoms. We describe a case of a 38-year-old man who was found dead 9 hours after the last sign of life. The deceased’s medical history could not explain the sudden, unexpected death. A forensic autopsy revealed an asymptomatic, mature teratoma in the left frontal and temporal lobes. We concluded that the cause of death must have been a generalized epileptiform seizure originating in the tumor site(s) leading to aspiration of the stomach contents and unfavorable positioning, resulting in asphyxia.

From the *Department of Forensic Medicine, Section for Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus University, and †Institute of Pathology, Aarhus University Hospital, Aarhus, Denmark.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

The authors discussed the results and commented on the manuscript at all stages.

Manuscript received December 11, 2012; accepted May 17, 2013.

All authors discussed the results and implications and commented on the manuscript at all stages; C.B.H.: autopsy and microscopy, conceived and drafted the manuscript; B.P.U.: neuropathological examination, microscopy; A.V.C.: autopsy and microscopy.

Reprints: Christian Bjerre Høyer, MD, PhD, Department of Forensic Medicine, Section for Forensic Pathology and Clinical Forensic Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aarhus University, Denmark, Brendstrupgaardsvej 100, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark. E-mail cbh@dadlnet.dk.

© 2013 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.