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Bone Marrow Embolism to the Lung in Electrocution: Two Case Reports

Blumenthal, Ryan MBChB, MMed (Med Forens), FC For Path (SA); Saayman, Gert MBChB, MMed (Med Forens), FC For Path (SA)

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 170–171
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000100
Case Reports

Bone marrow embolism in electrocution was first described in the literature by Rappaport et al (Am J Pathol. 1951;27(3):407–433) in 1951. Two case studies demonstrating this phenomenon are reported here, one involving high-voltage exposure with associated skeletal injuries and the other involving domestic current and without evidence of skeletal injury. Both cases demonstrated bone marrow embolism on histologic examination of the lungs. The purposes of this article are to reiterate the existence of this unusual phenomenon and to consider possible pathogenetic mechanisms.

From the Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa.

Manuscript received October 16, 2013; accepted January 9, 2014.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Ryan Blumenthal, MBChB, MMed, (Med Forens), FC For Path (SA) Department of Forensic Medicine, University of Pretoria, Room 4-44, Pathology Building, 5 Bophelo Road, Prinshof Campus, Riviera 0084, Corner of Steve Biko Street and Dr Savage Road, South Africa. E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.