Unexpected death of a young woman: is myocardial bridging significant?—A case report and review of literature
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Myocardial bridging (MB) refers to a congenital condition where a segment of a major coronary artery courses within the myocardium for a variable distance, and has been reported as an incidental finding in many cases. However, in some situations it has been shown to be associated with acute coronary syndromes, arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia and sudden death. We present the case of a 26-year-old Chinese woman with no previous history of disease who died unexpectedly in hospital. She had a ‘common cold’ with its associated symptoms. Autopsy revealed the presence of MB of the left anterior descending artery and microscopic examination showed associated cardiac lesions such as contraction band necrosis and interstitial fibrosis in the region supplied by the embedded artery. The coronaries were otherwise patent. Gross and microscopic examination of other organs was unremarkable. Toxicological analysis of body fluids and stomach content excluded death due to either drug intoxication or known poisonous substances. MB could have been responsible for death, but the disparate attitudes towards this phenomenon made this assumption open to discussion. We provide the case description and a short review of the literature on fatal and near- fatal cases involving MB.
KeywordsUnexpected death Myocardial bridging Autopsy Forensic pathology Incidental finding
We thank Annie Brantingham and Rama Y. Appadoo for further editing of this case report.
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