(Received 20 March 2000; accepted 26 May 2000)
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Most false aneurysms of the heart represent contained ventricular free wall ruptures after myocardial infarction. Post-traumatic aneurysms also may follow penetrating or non-penetrating trauma to the chest. Regardless of the origin of the false aneurysm there is a propensity for aneurysm rupture.
We report a patient who developed a false aneurysm of her left ventricle that developed post-motor vehicle accident. Her orthopedic problems were the clinical problems identified and after a hospital admission of 10 days she was discharged home. Four weeks later she died suddenly from anterior left ventricle false aneurysm rupture and tamponade. Patients with significant chest wall trauma should be assessed for cardiac pathology prior to discharge. Presentation may be delayed and be overshadowed by more evident pathology.
Trauma-related aneurysms may cause sudden death, and this may occur some later time after the trauma. Attributing the cause of death to the trauma, which may be remote, is important for the forensic investigator to remember.
University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Ontario,
Stock #: JFS14981J