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Undiagnosed, Untreated Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia Presenting as a Suspicious Sudden Death*

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Abstract:  Acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL) is a subtype of acute myelogenous leukemia frequently associated with clotting abnormalities and severe hemorrhagic diathesis. The disease is associated with a high incidence of early fatal hemorrhage. We report the sudden death of a 40‐year‐old male without significant medical history in which foul play had been initially suspected. A thorough postmortem investigation performed on the decedent lead to the diagnosis of APL. Cause of death was a cerebellar hematoma. Underlying APL should be considered in the differential diagnosis when unexplained bleeding is encountered in a decedent. This case emphasizes the value of routinely collecting bone marrow during an autopsy to enable accurate testing and diagnosis.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Service de Médecine Légale, Université François Rabelais, Centre Hospitalier Régional Universitaire de Tours, 37044 Tours, France. 2: Service de Pharmacologie et Toxicologie, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Dupuytren, 87042 Limoges, France. 3: Service de Médecine Légale, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Dupuytren, 87042 Limoges, France.

Publication date: 01 May 2012

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