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Sickle Cell Trait Mimicking Multiple Inflicted Injuries in a 5-Year-Old Boy

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Sickle cell disease (SCD) and sickle cell trait (SCT) can be associated with sudden unexpected death in the pediatric population, usually due to pulmonary complications occurring within the acute chest syndrome (ACS). Musculoskeletal complications can occur and are classically limited to bone infarcts. The occurrence of bone pathology centered upon the epiphyseal growth plate in SCD/SCT is extremely rare, and multiple such injuries in a single patient have not been previously reported. Herein, we describe a case of sudden unexpected death in a 5-year-old child with undiagnosed SCT due to the ACS, with widespread epiphyseal and periosteal bone lesions mimicking multiple inflicted injuries at autopsy. This case highlights the importance of clinicopathological correlation and is the first to describe SCT pathology as a mimic of nonaccidental injury.

Keywords: acute chest syndrome; forensic pathology; forensic science; pediatric; sickle cell trait; skeletal injury; sudden death

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON, Canada.

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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