Sudden Death Due to Undiagnosed Wilkie Syndrome

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A 56-year-old transgender woman with mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and strokelike episodes syndrome and diabetes presented to hospital with headaches and experiencing with malnutrition. She was agitated and refused medical and physical assistance. Soon after admission, she started to vomit and developed abdominal pain, becoming rapidly unresponsive on the ward after attending the radiology department, and was pronounced deceased. Autopsy revealed a cachectic transgender woman with a grossly distended stomach and proximal duodenum containing 2 L of liquid. The postmortem computed tomography scan showed compression of the duodenum by the superior mesenteric artery, diagnostic of Wilkie syndrome. Superior mesenteric artery syndrome, or Wilkie syndrome, was first described in 1861 by Von Rokitansky. It is an uncommon but well-recognized clinical entity characterized by compression of the third, or transverse, portion of the duodenum between the aorta and the superior mesenteric artery. This results in chronic, intermittent, or acute complete or partial duodenal obstruction. It is a well-recognized complication of anorexia.

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