Sudden Adult Death

  • N. R. B. Cary


Most deaths investigated under the coronial system in England and Wales are sudden unexpected deaths, which turn out to be natural in origin, with the commonest cause being one of ischaemic heart disease. Unnatural sudden deaths are covered elsewhere and will not be considered in this chapter, other than to say that the alternative or coexistent possibility of an unnatural cause should always be considered in relation to the various conditions described below. In particular there should be a low threshold for carrying out toxicological investigations, and reassurance from others involved that drug abuse or overdose are not relevant in a particular case should be viewed with a degree of scepticism.


Sudden Death Sudden Cardiac Death Ischaemic Heart Disease Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Hypertensive Heart Disease 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Davies MJ, Thomas AC. Plaque Assuring — the cause of acute myocardial infarction, sudden ischaemic death and crescendo angina. Br Heart J 1985;53:563–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Davies M, Thomas A, Knapman P, et al. Intramyocardial platelet aggregation in patients with unstable angina suffering sudden ischaemic cardiac death. Circulation 1986;73:418–27.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Davies MJ. The investigation of sudden cardiac death. Histopathology 1999;34:93–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Hansen SH and Rossen K. Evaluation of cardiac troponin I immunoreaction in autopsy hearts: a possible marker of early myocardial infarction. Forensic Sci Int 1999;99:189–96.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Bowker TJ, Wood DA, Davies MJ. Sudden unexpected cardiac death: methods and results of a national pilot study. Int J Cardiol 1995;52:241–50.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Leor J, Poole WK, Kloner RA. Sudden cardiac death triggered by an earthquake. N Eng J Med 1996;334:413–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    McMahon S, Roberts J, Kramer-Fox R, et al. Arrhythmias and sudden death in mitral valve prolapse. Am Heart J 1987;113:1298–307.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Kitzman D, Scholz D, Hagen P, et al. Age-related changes in normal human hearts during the first 10 decades of life. Part II maturity: a quantitative anatomic study of 765 specimens from subjects 20–99 years old. Mayo Clin Proc 1988;63:131–46Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Tabib A, Miras A, Taniere P, et al. Undetected cardiac lesions cause unexpected sudden cardiac death during occasional sport activity. A report of 80 cases. Eur Heart J 1999;20:900–903.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Teare D. Asymmetrical hypertrophy of the heart in young patients. Br Heart J 1958;20:1–8.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    McKenna W, Stewart J, Niyannopoulos P, et al. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy without hypertrophy: Two families with myocardial disarray in the absence of increased myocardial mass. Br Heart J 1990;63:287–90.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Marom BJ, Wolfson JK, Epstein SE, et al. Intramural (“small vessel”) coronary artery disease in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. J Am Coll Cardiol 1986;8:545–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Corrado D, Basso C, Thiene G, et al. Spectrum of clinicopathologic manifestations of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia: a multicentre study. J Am Coll Cardiol 1997;30:1512–20.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Fornes P, Ratel S, Lecompte D. Pathology of arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy/dysplasia — an autopsy study of 20 forensic cases. J Forens Sci 1998;43:777–83.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Perry A, Vuitch F. Causes of death in patients with sarcoidosis. A morphologic study of 38 autopsies with clinicopathologic correlations. Arch Path Lab Med 1995;119:167–172.Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Nashef L, Brown S. Epilepsy and sudden death. Lancet 1996;348:1324–5.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Ficker DM, So EL, Shen WK, et al. Population-based study of the incidence of sudden unexplained death in epilepsy Neurology 1998;51:1270–4.Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Nashef L, Walker F, Allen P, et al. Apnoea and bradycardia during epileptic seizures: relation to sudden death in epilepsy. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiat 1996;60:297–300.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    George JR, Davis GG. Comparison of anti-epileptic drug levels in different cases of sudden death. J Forens Sci 1998;43:598–603.Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Spitzer WO, Suissa S, Ernst P, et al. The use of beta-agonists and the risk of death and near death from asthma. N Engl J Med 1992;326:501–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Hanas R. Dead-in-bed syndrome in diabetes mellitus and hypoglycaemic unawareness. Lancet 1997;350:492–3.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Randall B. Fatty liver and sudden death. Hum Pathol 1980;11:147–53.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Panos RJ, Sutton FJ, Young-Hyman P, et al. Sudden death associated with alcohol consumption. PACE 1988;11:423–424. PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Pochmalicki G, Genest M, Jibril H. Late ventricular potentials and heavy drinking. Heart 1997;78:163–5.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Maron B, Poliac L, Kaplan J, et al. Blunt impact to the chest leading to sudden death from cardiac arrest during sports activities. N Eng J Med 1995;333:337–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Gardner JW, Kark JA. Fatal rhabdomyolysis presenting as mild heat illness in military training. Military Med 1994;159:160–3.Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Buttner A, Winkler PA, Eisenmenger W, et al. Colloid cysts of the third ventricle with fatal outcome: a report of two cases and review of the literature. Int J Legal Med 1997;110:260–6.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Knight B. Sudden unexpected death from adrenal haemorrhage. Forens Sci Ini 1980;16:227–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Davies M. Unexplained death in fit young people. BMJ 1992;305:538.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. R. B. Cary

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations