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Cuadernos de Medicina Forense

versão On-line ISSN 1988-611Xversão impressa ISSN 1135-7606


LUCENA, J. et al. Acute myocarditis and sudden death in the young: Case report. Cuad. med. forense [online]. 2007, n.48-49, pp.191-196. ISSN 1988-611X.

Myocarditis could be defined simply as an inflammation of the myocardium. Nowadays it is considered an acquired cardiomyopathy produced by a wide variety of infectious agents, mainly viruses, as well as toxins and drugs. The clinical presentation of the disease varies from unspecific systemic symptoms to sudden death. Some post-mortem series have diagnosed an acute myocarditis as the cause of sudden death in children and young adults between 4-12% of cases. On the other hand, myocarditis has been identified as the cause of dilated cardiomyopathy in 9% of cases. Myocarditis is a diagnostic challenge in the autopsy room because in the great majority of cases the heart is completely normal on gross examination. For that reason, microscopical diagnosis according to the Dallas criteria is always mandatory. The characterization of the virus trough Polimerase Chain Reaction is recommended. We present the case of a young girl dying suddenly due to acute lymphocytic myocarditis.

Palavras-chave : Acute myocarditis; Sudden Death; Forensic Pathology.

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