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Sudden Death Following Exercise; a Case Series Study

Fares Najari, Alimohammad Alimohammadi, Parisa Ghodrati



Introduction: Natural and unexpected death that happens within less than one hour of first symptom occurrence is called sudden death. Cardiovascular diseases are the main known reason of sudden death and more than 75% of sudden deaths in athletes are assigned to it. Here we reported the autopsy results of all cases with sudden death following exercise that were referred to forensic center of Tehran, Iran, from 2009 to 2014. Methods: In this cross sectional study all subjects who were registered to forensic medicine center of Tehran, Iran, from 2009 to 2014, as a case of sudden death following exercise were evaluated. Demographic data and medical history as well as autopsy and toxicology findings were retrospectively gathered using profiles of the deceased. Results were reported using descriptive analysis. Results: 14 cases were registered as sudden death following exercise in forensic medicine profiles during the study period. Exploring the files of the mentioned deceased, revealed five non-compatible cases in this regard. Finally, 9 eligible cases were enrolled (88.9% male). The mean age of the deceased was 28.66 ± 10.86 years (range: 7 – 40). Toxicological tests were available for 7 cases, one of which was positive for tramadol. Sudden death following football was reported most frequently (44.4%). Only 3 (33.3%) cases had herald signs such as chest pain, syncope, or loss of consciousness. 1 case (11.11%) had a positive history of sudden death in relatives. Conclusion: Although most sudden death victims are asymptomatic until the event, all those who suffer from symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue and irregular heart rate during physical activities, should be screened regarding common probable causes of sudden death.


Sudden death; exercise; autopsy; forensic medicine


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.22037/emergency.v4i2.8792


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