Genetic testing in sudden unexpected natural death in the young: New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner’s experience and perspective

  • Yingying TangEmail author
  • Nori Williams
  • Barbara A. Sampson


Postmortem genetic testing is a diagnostic tool that is becoming increasingly utilized. The benefits and limitations of genetic testing in cases of sudden, unexpected death in the young (≤ 40 years old) are reviewed from the perspective of the Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York, whose Molecular Genetics Laboratory, accredited by College of American Pathologists, has had 15 years of postmortem testing experience. Challenges to the interpretation and communication of testing results are highlighted, and opportunities for improving testing yield are discussed for age groups across the lifespan, from infancy to adulthood.


Postmortem Genetic testing Sudden death 



Grant awards (2015-DN-BX-K017 and 2014-DN-BX-K001) by National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Compliance with ethical standards

Review article (no identifiable information is used).

Conflict of interest


Ethical approval

Office of Chief Medical Examiner of the City of New York approved this work.

Informed consent

Review article (no identifiable information is used).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Molecular Genetics LaboratoryOffice of Chief Medical ExaminerNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Forensic Pathology DepartmentOffice of Chief Medical ExaminerNew YorkUSA

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