Sudden death in a patient with idiopathic scoliosis

Fumiko Satoh, Masaki Q. Fujita, Yoshihisa Seto, Akio Tsuboi, Sanae Takeichi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


We report an autopsy case of sudden death in a 36-year-old craftsman with idiopathic scoliosis. The doctor identified his scoliosis at the age of thirteen, and he was under medical care for three years until he stopped consulting the doctor. He collapsed while walking at the station and was sent to an emergency room in cardiopulmonary arrest state, where he was declared dead in spite of more than an hour of CPR. Numbers of petechiae were seen on the bilateral palpebral conjunctivae and the lips were cyanotic. There were no particular injuries except for small abrasions observed on the face. The back showed right rib hump owing to midthoracic scoliosis (with 73° of Cobb's angle) and right hemithorax was deformed showing an appearance of pectus excavatum in the front. The volume of the right thoracic cavity was significantly decreased. In the right lung, there was extensive stromal fibrosis, leaving almost no normal alveolar structures, and medial hypertrophy of pulmonary arteriolar walls. Hypertrophy of the right heart ventricle due to these pulmonary changes and the congestion of other organs suggested that the cause of death in this case was cor pulmonale due to pulmonary hypertension. This was a rare case of fatal outcome of advanced idiopathic scoliosis without medical care in spite of early detection through mass screening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)335-338
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Clinical Forensic Medicine
Issue number6-8
Publication statusPublished - 2006 Aug


  • Cor pulmonale
  • Idiopathic scoliosis
  • Pulmonary hypertension

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Genetics
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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