Lethal Infections, Sepsis, and Shock

  • Reinhard B. Dettmeyer


A wide range of potentially fatal infections can be considered in cause-of-death investigations. In addition to common fatal infections, such as the various forms of pneumonia (viral pneumonia, purulent bronchopneumonia, lobar pneumonia), histopathological investigations can help to determine rare pneumonia pathogens (fungal pneumonia, Pneumocystis jirovecii infection, pulmonary tuberculosis, etc.). Other possible fatal infections include purulent pancreatitis, ascending cholangitis, clostridial infection, measles, echinococcosis, purulent ascending pyelonephritis, glomerulonephritis, and overwhelming postsplenectomy infection (OPSI) syndrome. Although histopathology often reveals nonspecific evidence of shock, it is also often able to identify the cause of shock. Fatal infections and sepsis can occur in conjunction with medical interventions (e.g., infected implants); however, signs of shock are also seen in anaphylactic shock, where attention needs to be paid as much to increased eosinophil granulocytes as to degranulated mast cells. Depending on the geographical region, pathogens such as leptospirosis and malaria can also be included in possible causes-of-death considerations.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Reinhard B. Dettmeyer
    • 1
  1. 1.University Hospital Giessen Institute of Forensic MedicineGiessenGermany

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