Characterization of cardiomyopathy cases at a forensic institute in the period 1992–2006 and perspectives for screening

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Abstract

We surveyed our data over a 15-year period to determine the prevalence of cardiomyopathy diagnoses in our database and characterized the cases in regards to demographic and clinicopathological data. Furthermore we evaluated implications for screening. The data were acquired through our computerized database containing autopsy reports. Only cases with typical anatomical and histological features were included. The total number of autopsies in the studied period was 7,185 of which 32 suited the following criteria: 14 arrythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathies (ARVC), 8 hypertrophic cardiomyopathies (HCM), 8 dilated cardiomyopathies (DCM) and 2 other cardiomyopathies. Symptoms of cardiac disease were present in 8 ARVC, 3 HCM and 7 DCM cases. Symptoms of cardiac disease, including suspected sudden cardiac deaths, were present in the families of 5 cases. In two of these families the illnesses were discovered as a result of testing after autopsy. We underscore that these diseases are difficult to diagnose as the presenting symptoms are elusive. We found the circumstances around death to be extremely varied, and found that new hereditary cases could be discovered after autopsy. This places an intriguing perspective on the integration of standardized screening protocols with participation from forensic institutes.

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