(Received 3 March 1994; accepted 18 March 1994)
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Sudden, unexpected death can occur following rupture of an artery weakened by aneurysmal dilatation or by medial dissection. In both of these diseases the arterial abnormality is exacerbated by hypertension. This arterial weakness could also be aggravated by the use of drugs with a hypertensive effect. We report seven cases of sudden death in patients abusing methamphetamine—four cases of ruptured berry aneurysms and three cases of aortic dissection with cardiac tamponade. The autopsy findings are reviewed, and various mechanisms are considered by which methamphetamine may contribute to death in such cases.
Deputy Medical Examiner, Office of the Medical Examiner, San Diego, CA
Associate Coroner/Medical Examiner Jefferson County Coroner/Medical Examiner's Office, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
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