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Arch Kriminol. 2002 Jan-Feb;209(1-2):36-44.

[Mallory-Weiss syndrome as the cause of sudden, unexpected death].

[Article in German]

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  • 1Institut für Rechtsmedizin der Universität Hamburg.

Abstract

The Mallory-Weiss-syndrome is an upper gastrointestinal haemorrhage due to longitudinal mucosal lacerations in the oesophagogastric junction. The mucosal lacerations occur as a sequel of vomiting or any other increase in intraabdominal pressure and account for up to 15% of all upper gastrointestinal bleedings. If death is due to a bleeding Mallory-Weiss-tear, however, massive blood stains on the corpse and around it frequently give rise to the suspicion of an unnatural cause of death. For this reason, autopsy is usually indispensable to elucidate the circumstances in which death occurred. The authors carried out a retrospective analysis of 5958 autopsies performed between 1997 and 2001 at the Institute of Legal Medicine, University of Hamburg, in order to identify all cases of Mallory-Weiss-syndrome as cause of sudden, unexpected death. The results (9 cases, amounting to 0.15% of all autopsies) suggest that Mallory-Weiss-syndrome is probably much more common as a cause of sudden death than previously described. Regarding epidemiological aspects, men clearly predominate; the average age was 48 years. It should also be stressed that in 8 of the 9 cases there was a previous history of chronic alcohol abuse.

PMID:
11901986
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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