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Patterned bruising indicating a complete renal artery transection in a fatal occupational accident


Blunt renal artery injury (BRAI) is a rare finding with incidence ranging from 0.05% to 0.08% among blunt abdominal trauma patients. BRAI occurs in 1% to 4% of patients with renal injury, and the most common cause is motor vehicle accidents. An unusual case of BRAI in a 47-year-old man at work is reported. The victim accidentally fell from a scaffold (approximately 3 m in height). He was transported to the hospital where he was intubated, but he died after 30 min despite the cardio-pulmonary resuscitation. Surveillance cameras showed the man falling from the scaffold, but his impact with the ground was not captured. At autopsy, except for an oval bruise on the left hypochondrium, no external injury was found. The same mark was noticed on the shirt worn by the victim. Bilateral ribs fractures were found. The abdominal cavity was filled with 2 l of fresh blood and clots as a consequence of a complete transection of the left renal artery. Investigation of the workplace revealed a partial footprint on the external side of the scaffold, matching shoes worn by the victim. On the ground, a metallic pedestrian gate with a 1 m high post was found placed just below the scaffold. It was concluded that the man hit the gate’s post as intermediate impact after the fall, which caused the oval bruise, ribs fractures, and the rupture of the left renal artery without injury of the internal organs.

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Correspondence to Lucia Tattoli.

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Tattoli, L., Solarino, B. Patterned bruising indicating a complete renal artery transection in a fatal occupational accident. Forensic Sci Med Pathol 16, 355–358 (2020).

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  • Patterned bruise
  • Blunt injury
  • Kidney injury
  • Fall
  • Occupational death