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Open Neurol J. 2008;2:45-50. doi: 10.2174/1874205X00802010045. Epub 2008 Sep 5.

Unexpected perinatal loss versus Sids-a common neuropathologic entity.

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Lino Rossi" Research Center for the study and prevention of unexpected perinatal death and SIDS, University of Milan, Italy.



To evaluate the involvement of alterations of the central autonomic nervous system, particularly of the brainstem and cerebellum, in a wide set of victims of sudden and unexplained perinatal and infant death.


The study population consisted of 63 stillbirths, 28 neonatal deaths and 140 suspected SIDS. The victims were subjected to in-depth anatomopathological examination following appropriate guidelines. The protocol included, in particular, the histological evaluation on serial sections of the cardiorespiratory autonomic nervous system.


A diagnosis of "unexplained death" was established for 217 of the 231 victims (59 stillbirths, 28 newborns and 130 SIDS). In a very high percentage of these deaths (84%) we observed one or more anomalies of the nuclei and/or structures of the brainstem and cerebellum related to vital functions.


Unexpected perinatal loss should not be regarded as a separate entity from SIDS, given the common neuropathological substrates.


Brainstem; Central Autonomic Nervous System; Developmental Alterations; Neuropathology; SIDS; Stillbirth

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