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A Journal on Forensic Medicine
Minerva Medicolegale 2004 September-December;124(3-4):101-4
Death by emotional stress and arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomiopathy (ARVC)
Mastroroberto L., Mela F., Pilu G., Tucci G., Vasapollo D.
A case of sudden and unexpected death during physical aggression with trauma is reported. Injury caused only the fracture of the nasal bone and no important findings from autopsy could justify death. Only histological examination shows focal fibro-fatty infiltrates in the right ventricular myocardium. The relationship is discussed between emotional stress and death in subjects not suffering from clear arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) but with histopathological focal evidence. According to the authors, histological findings are however important, because they can explain arrhythmias by a re-entrant mechanism. The highest caution is suggested in the evaluation of emotional deaths like this, because the relationship between emotional stress and arrhythmias cannot be proved but only suspected, and can be accepted when a chronological link between the 2 events is present.