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Sudden Death Due to Hydatid Cyst: Thirty-Four Medicolegal Autopsy Cases

Jedidi, Maher MD; Mlayeh, Souheil MD; Masmoudi, Tasnim MD; Souguir, Mohamed Kamel MD; Zemni, Majed MD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: March 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 1 - p 29–33
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000064
Original Articles

The natural history of the echinococcosis can be studded with multiple complications; the most formidable is sudden death. We studied the epidemiological, pathological, and thanatological features of 34 sudden deaths due to hydatid cyst. The mean age was 33.2 years. A male predominance was observed with a sex ratio of 1.8. Most of our victims were from rural areas (79.4%). Sudden death was preceded by prodromal symptoms in 61.7% of cases. The most common was dyspnea (23.5%), followed by hemoptysis (11.8%). In 85.3% of cases, the cyst location was liver. It was cracked in 25 cases and broken in 6 cases. The rupture was spontaneous in 25 cases (73%). It was preceded by trauma in 7 cases. Death was related to an anaphylactic shock in 82.3% of cases, infection in 14.7%, and respiratory distress in 3% of cases. Sudden death is a serious and not exceptional complication of hydatid cyst. Several mechanisms may explain the sudden death.

From the Farhat Hached University Hospital, Sousse, Tunisia.

Manuscript received October 18, 2011; accepted January 11, 2013.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Maher Jedidi, MD, Service de Médecine Légale Hôpital Universitaire Farhat Hached, Avenue Ibn El Jazzar, 4000 Sousse, Tunisia. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.