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Sudden Unexpected Deaths Due to Intracranial Meningioma: Presentation of Six Fatal Cases, Review of the Literature, and A Discussion of the Mechanisms of Death

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Deaths due to meningiomas are routinely diagnosed in clinical practice because this neoplasm tends to present with the typical progression of neurological deficits. On the other hand, sudden unexpected deaths due to meningiomas are rarely described in the literature. The study presents six fatal cases of previously undiagnosed intracranial meningiomas from the Cook County Medical Examiner's Office from 1998 to 2014. The most common explanation of the mechanism of sudden death due to intracranial neoplasms is a rapid increase in intracranial pressure produced by the mass effect of the neoplasm. Other mechanisms of death include acute intracranial and intratumoral hemorrhage, and benign neoplasms that grow in the vicinity of vital centers altering neural discharge in autonomic pathways leading to cardiac suppression or lethal arrhythmia. Forensic pathologists must keep in mind that sudden unexpected death caused by intracranial meningiomas, although extremely rare, may be encountered in the forensic setting.
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Keywords: cerebral edema; endocranial hypertension; forensic science; intracranial hemorrhage; intracranial neoplasm; meningioma; sudden unexpected death

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: May 1, 2018

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