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A Case of Fatal Spontaneous Varicose Vein Rupture—An Example of Incorrect First Aid

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Severe external bleeding due to varicose vein rupture is a rare complication of this frequent venous pathology. Venous bleeding can be very intensive and can be mistaken for arterial hemorrhage. A rare case of fatal varicose vein rupture with an example of an incorrect and ineffective first-aid technique in a 43-year-old man is reported here with a review of the recent literature. The victim was found on a sand stack, not far from his domicile in a large pool of blood. The external examination revealed a flat ulcer on the internal surface of the right shank. On dissection, the lesion contained a perforation that was continuous with superficial veins arising from a varicosed saphenous vein. The man tried to give himself first aid, due to the massive bleeding that he probably predicted arterial bleeding and applied the ligature closer to the heart above the bleeding defect, thereby not stopping the venous bleeding but exacerbating it. Death was caused by a hypovolemic shock because of external hemorrhage from a varicose vein.

Keywords: case report; fatal hemorrhage; forensic science; sudden death; ulceration; varicose veins

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Legal Medicine, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic.

Publication date: 2009-09-01

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