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NCJ Number: 186704 Find in a Library
Title: Obesity-Sleep Apnea (Pickwickian) Syndrome: Autopsy Findings and a Medicolegal Review
Journal: Legal Medicine  Volume:2  Issue:1  Dated:March 2000  Pages:36-41
Author(s): Koichi Uemura; Kazuki Harada; Akiko Shiotani; Akihiko Kai; Youhei Urata; Masahiro Yasuhara; Ken-ichi Yoshida
Date Published: March 2000
Page Count: 6
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: Japan
Annotation: This article reports a case of sleep apnea syndrome (SAS) that occurred in an obese patient after repeated episodes of respiratory failure and pneumonia; an overview of this disease from the medicolegal perspective is also provided.
Abstract: Sleep apnea syndrome is defined as the repetitive, prolonged cessation of air flow associated with hypoxemia, hypercapnia, and acidosis during sleep. A widely accepted criterion for SAS is more than 30 episodes of apnea (lasting 10 seconds or more) during 7 hours of sleep. In the case examined, a 24-year-old obese woman was found dead in her boyfriend's apartment in his absence. She had been admitted to the hospital six times previously because of diminished consciousness, respiratory failure, and pneumonia. A diagnosis of obesity-sleep apnea (Pickwickian) syndrome was made. An autopsy showed that she had an extremely small larynx, intra-alveolar hemorrhage, edema, pulmonary lymphocyte infiltration, and severe focal myocardial fibrosis. No fresh myocardial lesion, coronary arterial lesion, or findings of heart failure were determined. The woman's elder sister had also died of the same disease at the age of 23. The cause of death was diagnosed as respiratory failure and pneumonia with the SAS as the underlying cause of death. Although no autopsy reports of the SAS have been published in the field of forensic pathology, this syndrome is a predominant cause of sudden death in obese persons and could be a hidden cause of accidental death in such persons. 4 figures and 16 references
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Autopsy; Case studies; Death investigations; Foreign criminal justice research
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