Pathology of heart, coronaries and aorta in autopsy cases with history of sudden death: an original article


  • Sushil Y. Sonawane Department of Pathology, Dr. V. M. Govt. Medical College, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
  • Pushkar P. Matkari Department of Pathology, Dr. V. M. Govt. Medical College, Solapur, Maharashtra, India
  • Gopal A. Pandit Department of Pathology, Dr. V. M. Govt. Medical College, Solapur, Maharashtra, India



Atherosclerosis, Heart, MI, Sudden death, Hypertension


Background: Natural deaths represent a large proportion of sudden (unexpected and unattended) deaths. The term “sudden cardiac death” (SCD) refers to death from the abrupt cessation of cardiac function due to cardiac arrest. The objective of this study was to identify various causes, risk factors, age and sex distribution associated with sudden cardiac death in an Indian setting.

Methods: Detail review of medical records and an autopsy study of all cases of sudden cardiac death that occurred instantaneously or within 24 hours of onset of symptoms in a tertiary care institution, between December 2010 and December 2015 was carried out.

Results: In total, 124 cases of sudden death were studied during this period. Out of 124 cases, 109 cases (87.90%) showed pathology in heart and aorta. Atherosclerotic coronary heart disease was the most common cause of death (72.58%) followed by Hypertensive heart disease (4.83%), Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (3.22%), Myocarditis (3.22%), Infective endocarditis (1.61%), Rheumatic heart disease (0.8%), Aortic dissection (0.8%), and syphilitic aortitis (0.8%).

Conclusions: Sudden death is a source of concern and a detailed postmortem examination is mandatory to ascertain its cause. Presence of co-existing conditions like diabetes and hypertension contribute immensely to the risk of sudden death. Occurrence of sudden death at a younger age presents a formidable challenge. Prevention of development of risk factors of atherosclerosis at an early age can be an effective strategy to counter this ailment at all levels.


Yang KM, Lee SY, Kim YS, Lee JS, Seo JW. Guidelines for forensic assessment of natural unexpected cardiovascular death. Basic Appli Pathol. 2008;1:155-63.

Turakhia M, Tseng ZH. Sudden cardiac death: epidemiology, mechanisms, and therapy. Curr Probl Cardiol. 2007;32:501-46.

Lee WT, Cho WY, Ki CD, Kim JK, Kang SM. The statistical analysis on legal autopsy in 2006. Korean J Leg Med. 2007;31:139-46.

Mehra R. Global public health problem of sudden cardiac death. J Electrocardiol. 2007;40:S118-122.

Bulzan O, Pribac G. Case study on sudden cardiac death: Studia Universitatis “Vasile Goldiş”, Seria Ştiinţele Vieţii. 2010;20:17-20.

Furberg C, Romo M, Linko E, Siltanen P, Tibblin G, Wilhelmsen L. Sudden coronary death in Scandinavia. A report from Scandinavian coronary heart disease registers. Acta Med Scand. 1977;201:553-7.

Turan AA, Guven T, Karayel F, Pakis I, Gurpinar K, Ozaslan A. Subvalvular aortic stenosis as a cause of sudden death: two case reports. Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2006;27(1):90-2.

Mitchell RN. Blood Vessels. In: Kumar V, Abbas AK, Aster JC. eds. Robbins and Cotran Pathologic Basis of Disease. 9’th ed. Saunders Elsevier; 2015:483-522.

Kasthuri AS, Handa A, Niyogi M, Choudhury JC. Sudden death: a clinicopathological study. J Assoc Physicians India. 2002;50:551-3.

Braggion-Santos MF, Volpe GJ, Pazin-Filho A, Maciel BC, Marin-Neto JA, Schmidt A. Sudden cardiac death in Brazil: a community-based autopsy series (2006-2010). Arq Bras Cardiol. 2014;120-7.

Wang H, Yao Q, Zhu S, Zhang G, Wang Z, Li Z, et al. The autopsy study of 553 cases of sudden cardiac death in Chinese adults. Heart Vessels. 2014;29(4):486-95.

Farioli A, Christophi CA, Quarta CC, Kales SN. Incidence of Sudden cardiac death in a young active population. J Am Heart Assoc. 2015;4(6):e001818.

Ahmad M, Afzal S, Malik I, Mushtaq S, Mubarik A. An autopsy study of sudden cardiac death. JPMA. 2005;55:149.

Burke AP, Virmani R, Farb A. Coronary risk factors and plaque morphology in men with coronary disease who died suddenly. New Eng J Med. 1997;336(18):1276-82.

Margey R, Roy A, Tobin S, Okeane CJ, McGorrian C, Morris V, et al. Sudden cardiac death in 14 to 35 year olds in Ireland from 2005 to 2007: A retrospective registry. Europace. 2011;13(10):1411-8.

Finkbeiner, Ursell, Davis. Autopsy pathology: A Manual and Atlas, 2nd edition, Churchill Livingstone; 2004:131-136.




How to Cite

Sonawane, S. Y., Matkari, P. P., & Pandit, G. A. (2017). Pathology of heart, coronaries and aorta in autopsy cases with history of sudden death: an original article. International Journal of Research in Medical Sciences, 5(8), 3287–3291.



Original Research Articles