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Histological Diagnosis of Myocardial Sarcoidosis in a Fatal Fall from a Height

Authors

  • Giovanni Cecchetto M.D.,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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  • Guido Viel M.D.,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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  • Alessandro Amagliani M.S.,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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  • Rafael Boscolo-Berto M.D.,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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  • Paolo Fais M.D.,

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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  • Massimo Montisci M.D., Ph.D.

    1. Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health—Section of Legal Medicine, University of Padova, Via Falloppio 50, Padova, Italy.
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Additional information and reprint requests:
Giovanni Cecchetto, M.D.
Department of Environmental Medicine and Public Health
Section of Legal Medicine
University of Padova
Via Falloppio 50, Padova
Italy
E-mail: giocecchetto@yahoo.it

Abstract

Abstract:  The major issues of medico-legal relevance in fatal falls from a height are the manner of death and the reconstruction of the event. We present a peculiar case of a fatal fall from a height of about 9 m, involving a 27-year-old woman. At the death scene investigation, no suicide notes, housebreaking marks, or signs of fight were found, thus weakening both the suicide and homicide hypotheses. Combining circumstantial, autopsy and toxicology data, the kinematic analysis of the jump/fall, and the histological evidence of a myocardial sarcoidosis involving the left ventricle, we hypothesized that the young woman might have accidentally fallen from the window because of a sudden loss of consciousness related to cardiac disease undiagnosed during life. We believe that our brief report is a good example of the powerful additional information that histological investigations can offer for reconstructing the dynamics of the event in falls from a height and other traumatic fatalities.

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