Profile of sudden deaths due to lung pathologies

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Introduction: Sudden unexpected death due to respiratory disease contributes to 15 - 23% of all sudden death cases. Tuberculosis (TB) is a major respiratory cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and its prevalence is high in the Indian subcontinent, and cases may not be diagnosed until after an autopsy is performed. Aim of this study: The aim of this autopsy based retrospective study was to identify common causes ofsudden death due to lung pathologies, to study the prevalence of mycobacterium tuberculosis in autopsied lungs and to identify cases of active pulmonary tuberculosis. Material and Method: Confirmed cases of sudden deaths due to lung pathologies based on gross and histopathological examination from 2014-16 were included in the study. Results: Out of 210 cases of sudden unexpected deaths. 23.81% were due to lung pathologies, of which 25 (50%) of cases were due to pulmonary tuberculosis. 20% were found to be positive for acid fast bacilli (AFB) by Ziehl-Neelsen stain, 28% of cases were due to pneumonia, 6% of cases were due to pulmonary thromboembolism and 4% cases were due to acute respiratory distress syndrome. Conclusion: The risk of exposure to unrecognized active pulmonary tuberculosis cases is very high in this particular region of South India, so adequate precautions should be taken for the autopsy surgeons, lab technicians, mortuary workers and investigating officers while handling unknown cases of sudden deaths.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)150-155
Number of pages6
JournalMedico-Legal Update
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 01-12-2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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