Academic Forensic Pathology

The Official Publication of the National Association of Medical Examiners

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Title: Sudden Death of a Young Man by Acute Hemorrhagic Leukoencephalitis
Author(s): Peerani RaheemBerggren MeredithHerath Jayantha C.
Citation: Acad Forensic Pathol. 2017 Aug; 7(3):487-493.
Type: Case of the Month
Keywords: Forensic pathology Perivenular hemorrhage Demyelination Acute disseminated encephalitis (ADEM) Acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis (AHL or AHLE)
Abstract: We report a case of acute hemorrhagic leukoencephalitis in an adult man with a prodrome of “feeling unwell” two days prior to this death. At autopsy, external examination revealed minor external injuries including contusions on the scalp and left thigh and abrasions on the forehead and right eyebrow. Gross examination of the brain after coronal sectioning revealed multiple petechial hemorrhages in the white matter in the cerebral hemispheres, corpus callosum, basal ganglia, brainstem, and cerebellum. Microscopic examination of these lesions revealed demyelination, hemorrhage, and necrosis with fibrin exudation in a perivenular distribution with radial extension into the white matter. The remainder of the autopsy was unremarkable. This case highlights the death of a young man by a rare fatal complication of a natural disease only identified by a singular set of gross and microscopic findings at autopsy in circumstances that would otherwise suggest a nonnatural death. The case demonstrates the importance of a thorough autopsy in settings where the clinical history, scene, and circumstances may be misleading or absent.
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