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Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2010 Dec;31(4):364-9.

Fatal ischemic stroke due to dissecting aneurysm of the intracranial arteries presenting as sudden unexpected death in childhood.

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  • 1Forensic Neuropathology Unit, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Hamburg, Germany.


Sudden unexpected death is any nontraumatic death in healthy individuals with normal activities for age until acute demise. Whereas not uncommon in adults and infants, it is considered a rarity in children, with most cases due to infection or occult cardiovascular abnormalities. Pathologic intracranial findings are rarely found in sudden unexpected death in childhood, with most cases due to occult intracranial neoplasms. Cerebral arterial dissection is an uncommon cause of arterial ischemic stroke in childhood. Outcome is poor, with more than 20% of patients dying. We report 4 cases of sudden unexpected death due to arterial ischemic stroke after cerebral arterial dissection in childhood and present a review of the literature.

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