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Minerva Pediatrica 2020 Apr 02

DOI: 10.23736/S0026-4946.20.05599-1


language: English

Multidisciplinary study of sudden unexpected infant death in Liguria (Italy): an nine-year report

Francesco VENTURA 1 , Rosario BARRANCO 1, Anna SMITH 1, Isabella CECCHERINI 2, Roberto BANDETTINI 3, Domenico COVIELLO 4, Anna MORANDO 5, Paolo NOZZA 6, Francesca BUFFELLI 7, Ezio FULCHERI 7, 8, Antonella PALMIERI 9

1 Department of Forensic and Legal Medicine, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy; 2 U.O.C. of Medical Genetics, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 3 U.O.S.D. of Bacteriology, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 4 Laboratory of Human Genetics, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 5 S.C. of Analytic Toxicology, La Colletta Hospital - ASL 3 Genovese, Arenzano, Genoa, Italy; 6 S.C. of Clinical Pathology, Galliera Hospital, Genoa, Italy; 7 U.O.S.D. of Fetal and Perinatal Pathology, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy; 8 School of Medicine, University of Genoa, Italy; 9 Department of Pediatric Emergency - Sudden Infant Death Syndrome Liguria Centre, Istituto Giannina Gaslini, Genoa, Italy


We conducted a retrospective analysis of cases of SUID referred to the SIDS-ALTE Center of the Liguria Region (Italy) from 2010 to 2018. In all cases, the death scene was inspected and a multidisciplinary post-mortem evaluation was conducted. Our aim was to analyze the epidemiological data and etiological distribution. We examined 15 cases initially classified as sudden infant death. In all cases, the death was initially unexplained. Seven cases involved males and eight involved females. Their mean age was 67,47 days; the youngest victim was 2 days old, while the oldest was 8.5 months (253 days). In 7 cases, the post-mortem analysis showed an infection of lung. In 4 cases, the prone position of the infant during sleep was identified as a risk factor. In only one case did the cause of death remain unexplained and it was classified as sudden infant death syndrome II according to San Diego classification.
In the forensic approach to cases of SUID, it is always important to conduct a thorough multidisciplinary investigation. In order to avoid procedural errors that might compromise the post- mortem investigation, it is necessary to consider the medical and social history of both mother and child, in addition to the circumstances of the death. Moreover, a complete pediatric post-mortem examination and multidisciplinary discussion are required in order to identify potentially important causative or contributory factors.

KEY WORDS: Sudden unexpected infant death; Prone sleep position; Death scene investigation; Autopsy; Sudden infant death syndrome

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