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J Forensic Sci. 2019 Nov;64(6):1926-1928. doi: 10.1111/1556-4029.14092. Epub 2019 Jun 4.

Sudden Unexpected Death Due to Left Subclavian Artery-esophageal Fistula Caused by Fish Bone.

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Department of Forensic Medicine, Tongji Medical College, Huazhong University of Science and Technology, No. 13 Hangkong Road, Wuhan, 430030, China.


A 53-year-old woman was admitted to the hospital due to unexpected dizziness and died the following morning. To investigate the cause of death, a forensic autopsy along with histological examination was performed 3 days after her death. The major findings of the autopsy were that a fish bone had pierced the left subclavian artery after perforating the esophagus with 680 mL of blood in the stomach and bloody and tarry contents were present in the intestines, and the cause of death was confirmed to be subsequent hemorrhagic shock. Unfortunately, none of her family realized that she had eaten a fish 4 days before the tragedy until the fish bone was found. The present case is rare and instructive. The histopathological findings of left subclavian artery-esophageal fistula induced by a fish bone can be used as a reference in forensic practice.


fish bone; foreign body ingestion; forensic science; hemorrhagic shock; left subclavian artery-esophageal fistula

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