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Type: Journal article
Title: Sudden death and intussusception in infancy and childhood - Autopsy considerations
Author: Byard, R.
Simpson, A.
Citation: Medicine Science and the Law, 2001; 41(1):41-45
Publisher: Chiltern Publishing
Issue Date: 2001
ISSN: 0025-8024
Statement of
R W Byard, A Simpson
Abstract: Search of the autopsy files of the Department of Histopathology at the Women's and Children's Hospital (WCH), Adelaide, Australia for cases of intussusception from January 1961 to December 1995 revealed two deaths due to intussusception out of a total of 4,384 autopsies (0.05%). Both cases occurred in infants (aged five months and six months respectively) who had only non-specific and apparently minor manifestations of illness, until precipitate deterioration occurred. The intussusceptions were ileo-ileal and ileocaecal in location, respectively. A total of 204 cases of intussusception were found in a search of 28,123 surgical pathology cases (0.73%) at the WCH over the 20-year period from 1976 to 1995. Mesenteric lymphadenopathy was found in 16 cases (including one with possible Yersinia infection), Meckels diverticulum in 14, isolated gastric/pancreatic heterotopia in two, cystic fibrosis in two and Henoch-Schonlein purpura in one. Although it has been shown that unexpected death is more likely to occur in older children with purely small intestinal intussusception, the current cases demonstrate that unexpected death may occur at any age, with intussusception at any level. The autopsy assessment of deaths due to intussusception requires careful evaluation of cases for evidence of local or systemic disease, particularly given the hereditary nature of certain predisposing conditions. Careful review of the presenting history is also required to assess the quality of care received by the child in the time preceding death.
Keywords: Humans
Death, Sudden
Sudden Infant Death
Retrospective Studies
Age Distribution
Child, Preschool
South Australia
Rights: Copyright status unknown
DOI: 10.1177/002580240104100108
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 5
Pathology publications

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