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Fatal Ischemic Stroke Due to Dissecting Aneurysm of the Intracranial Arteries Presenting as Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood

Matschke, Jakob MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: December 2010 - Volume 31 - Issue 4 - p 364-369
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0b013e3181fbe45a
Original Articles

Sudden unexpected death is any nontraumatic death in healthy individuals with normal activities for age until acute demise. Whereas not uncommon in adults and infants, it is considered a rarity in children, with most cases due to infection or occult cardiovascular abnormalities. Pathologic intracranial findings are rarely found in sudden unexpected death in childhood, with most cases due to occult intracranial neoplasms. Cerebral arterial dissection is an uncommon cause of arterial ischemic stroke in childhood. Outcome is poor, with more than 20% of patients dying. We report 4 cases of sudden unexpected death due to arterial ischemic stroke after cerebral arterial dissection in childhood and present a review of the literature.

From the Forensic Neuropathology Unit, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.

Manuscript received February 13, 2008; accepted April 8, 2008.

Reprints: Jakob Matschke, MD, Forensic Neuropathology Unit, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistrasse 52, D-20251 Hamburg, Germany. E-mail:

© 2010 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.