Embolization of Endocardial Vegetation With Stroke Presentation

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This case report details the unique cause of death of a 37-year-old Caucasian woman with a history significant for intravenous drug abuse. Before her death, she complained of extremity weakness and pain. Although her death was discovered to be the result of endocarditis, her symptoms were similar to that of a stroke. Autopsy revealed a large endocardial vegetation infecting both the tricuspid and mitral valves and a patent foramen ovale. The subsequent embolization of this vegetation caused blockages in the lungs, liver, and brain. An acute embolization of these vegetations to the bilateral middle cerebral arteries is the cause of the stroke presentation. Other comorbidities, such as cardiomegaly, microscopic evidence of myocardial infarction, and atherosclerotic disease, also contributed to the cause of death. As the opioid crisis continues in the United States, it is important to review cases involving the effects of drug use. The multiple interactions between endocarditis and the aforementioned conditions are documented to not only serve as references for future autopsies but also for the treatment of patients who have similar symptoms and comorbidities.

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