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CLASP - Sudden Death > Role of the Pathologist > Flashcards

Flashcards in Role of the Pathologist Deck (18)
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Where do pathologists become involved after a sudden death?

Post Mortem examination


What takes place during a Post Mortem examination?

- History gained from Clinical Notes and Police Reports
- Scene photos analysed
- External and internal examination of patient
- Histology
- Toxicology
- Genetics
- Identification


What do photos of the scene add to a Post Mortem examination?

Gives an indication as to whether the death may be due to suspicious causes

- Suspicious vs Non-suspicious


What can toxicology be used for in a post mortem examination, other than to identify overdose?

- If known patient was on medication for a certain condition, the titre of these can be checked
=> if they were not taking the medication, this may indicate their cause of death


What is immunohistochemistry used for after identifying a tumour on autopsy?

Differentiate if primary or secondary tumour
Cellular analysis may also indicate original site?


Who must consent for a patient to undergo a hospital autopsy?

- Family or Next of Kin
- patient also may have consented to partial or full autopsy before their death


Who can authorise an autopsy that does NOT need familial consent?

Procurator Fiscal
- this is then required by law
- Can cause problems in families of certain religions who may be against autopsy


What is involved in a "View and Grant" Post mortem examination?

- External examination only
- NO internal biopsies
- can still do toxicology samples on blood, urine and vitreous humour from the eye


What is the WHO definition of Sudden or Unexpected death?

Death within 24 hours of symptom onset


What clinical signs during a Post Mortem Examination would indicate a patient had hyperlipidaemia which could have contributed to their death?

- Bilateral diagonal ear lobe creases
- Arcus eye sign (cloudy ring around iris)


What signs on autopsy may be indicators of a myocardial infarction?

- occlusion of coronary artery
- rupture of heart muscle
- haemopericardium (evident on opening chest)


What problem in the coronary arteries may cause a patient to die suddenly although there is no physical pathology present on autopsy?

Coronary artery spasm


What structural heart abnormalities may be visible on autopsy?

- LV hypertrophy (heart may also be weighed to indicate this)
- Aortic stenosis (calcifications present on valve)
- Cardiomyopathies (hypertrophic, dilated or restrictive)


What type of cardiomyopathy is known to cause sudden death in young athletes?



What signs can you look for on autopsy if you suspect a patient has died from an epileptic seizure?

- Tongue biting marks
- urine stained clothes


If a lung tumour was found on autopsy, what other common pathology would you look for?

- Pulmonary embolus
- High risk of this when patient has lung cancer, and is often a cause of sudden death


What throat condition may cause complications that result in sudden death?

Quincy - presents in throat but may cause tonsillar abscess that bursts and causes sudden death


What condition has the potential to cause sudden death in children?

Epiglottitis - commonly caused by Haemophilus Influenzae