A Case of Sudden Infant Death Due to a Primary Cardiac Sarcoma


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Fidelia Cascini, M.D., Ph.D.
Institute of Legal Medicine
Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore
Largo F. Vito 1
00168 Roma
E-mail: f.cascini@rm.unicatt.it


Abstract:  The case reported herein concerns the unexpected death of a 3-month-old female newborn who suddenly collapsed in her mother’s arms and was dead on arrival at the hospital. The clinical histories of the baby and her parents were negative for symptoms or signs of illness, even those of cardiovascular origin. Furthermore, no clinical appearance of a pathologic status was noted by pediatricians after the birth until the last emergency recovery. The autopsy excluded external and internal signs of violence but revealed a large primary cardiac tumor arising from the free wall of the left ventricle, which had totally invaded the heart causing mitral valve deformation. Histological examination showed a low-grade sarcoma that completely infiltrated the myocardial tissue. The pathogenesis of this sudden infant death was postulated as being owing to a fatal ventricular fibrillation combined with a tumor-related restrictive cardiomyopathy obstructing left ventricular filling.