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An Autopsy Case of Sudden Unexpected Death Due to a Glial Cyst of the Pineal Gland

Na, Joo-Young MD*; Lee, Kyung-Hwa MD, PhD; Kim, Hyung-Seok MD, PhD; Park, Jong-Tae MD, PhD

The American Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology: September 2014 - Volume 35 - Issue 3 - p 186–188
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000107
Case Reports

Pineal cysts are usually asymptomatic; however, they may rarely cause symptoms such as chronic headache, paroxysmal headache with gaze paresis, postural syncope, loss of consciousness, and sudden death. A 30-year-old woman with no specific medical history except chronic headache was found collapsed in a public toilet per se. Postmortem examination revealed no external injuries or internal diseases except a cystic lesion of the pineal gland. Histologic examination showed an internal cyst surrounded by glial tissues and pineal parenchyma that was diagnosed as a glial cyst of the pineal gland. Although the pineal cyst cannot be confirmed as the cause of death, it was considered, as no other cause was evident. Herein, we report a pineal cyst considered as an assumed cause of death.

From the *Forensic Medicine Division, Gwangju Institute, National Forensic Service, Jangseoung-gun; and †Department of Pathology, Chonnam National University Hwasun Hospital, Hwasun-gun, Jeollanam; and ‡Department of Forensic Medicine, Chonnam National University Medical School, Gwangju, Republic of Korea.

Manuscript received March 21, 2014; accepted June 9, 2014.

This study has no sources of support.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

Reprints: Joo-Young Na, MD, Forensic Medicine Division, Gwangju Institute, National Forensic Service, 687 Chungnyeong-ro, Seosam-myeon, Jangseong-gun, Jeollanam-do, Republic of Korea, E-mail:

© 2014 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.