Intracoronary Thrombus Formation Following Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Abstract

Thromboembolic events in the context of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure have been well described in the literature. Six cases of clinically significant coronary thrombosis following CO exposure were previously reported. However, factors affecting the development of coronary thrombus in CO exposure are poorly understood, and the significance of this finding in a forensic context is not clear. This article discusses a case of coronary thrombosis found at autopsy following a death in which CO poisoning was suspected. A 67-year-old man was found dead in his garage with four vehicles with their ignition in the “on” position and their tanks empty. At autopsy, severe coronary atherosclerosis and an acute nonocclusive coronary thrombus were found. Given the dissimilarities among cases and the presence of CO exposure, it was suggested that the coronary artery thrombosis is likely due to the inherent prothrombotic mechanism of CO, the only common denominator in all the cases.

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