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Brain Arteriovenous Malformation and Its Implication in Forensic Pathology

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Despite the fact that brain arteriovenous malformations (BAVMs) are a possible cause of sudden and unexplained death, very few papers have discussed their importance in the forensic context. BAVMs consist of tangled masses of tortuous arteries and veins devoid of intervening capillaries that frequently extend from brain parenchyma into the subarachnoid space. Apart from BAVMs, three major groups of vascular malformations of the brain are known: cavernous hemangioma, venous angioma, and capillary telangiectasia. BAVMs and cavernous hemangioma often cause hemorrhages, while venous angioma and capillary telangiectasia are typically asymptomatic. Presented here is the case of a 14-year-old girl who died from a ruptured BAVM. The present case is a reminder that the forensic pathologist should be able to recognize BAVMs and to differentiate it from other types of vascular malformations. Although rare, it is a cause of sudden death not to be overlooked, especially in children.
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Keywords: arteriovenous malformations; forensic science; sudden death

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Laboratoire de sciences judiciaires et de médecine légale, Edifice Wilfrid-Derome, 1701, Parthenais Street, 12th floor, Montreal, QC, Canada H2K 3S7.

Publication date: January 1, 2007

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