Hepatic hemangioendothelioma presenting as sudden unexpected death in infancy: A case report

Dempers J. ; Wadee S.A. ; Boyd T. ; Wright C. ; Odendaal H.J. ; Sens M.A. ; Burd L. ; Dukes K.A. ; Elliott A. ; Fifer W.P. ; Folkerth R. ; Hankins G. ; Herald D. ; Kinney H.C. ; Myers M.M. ; Signore C. ; Sullivan L.M. ; Willinger M. (2011)


The classification of an unexpected infant death as suddeninfant death syndrome (SIDS) depends upon a complete autopsy, death scene investigation, and review of medical history to exclude known causes of death. Death from occult neoplastic disease in infancy is extremely rare but is within the broad differential diagnosis of SIDS. We report the sudden and unexpected death of a 1-month-old infant from a hepatic (infantile) hemangioendothelioma. The physiologic mechanism of death was likely cardiac failure induced by the circulatory demands of this large vascular tumor and respiratory compromise from diaphragmatic thoracic incursion. The clinical progression and pathology of these relatively common tumors of infant livers are extremely variable. This case dramatically illustrates the potential for fatal outcome of this tumor, as well as the need for autopsy to determine the cause of sudden and unexpected death in an infant. © 2011 Society for Pediatric Pathology.

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