Sudden Death in Toddlers with Viral Meningitis, Cerebral Edema, Lund Edema
Pediatr Dev Pathol. 2007 Mar
Viral (lymphocytic) meningitis typically does not cause sudden death, especially in the absence of severe inflammation in the brain or other organs. We report two toddlers with clinical evidence of a viral infection who died unexpectedly and were found at autopsy to have lymphocytic meningitis associated with severe brain edema, transtentorial herniation, neurogenic pulmonary edema and hemorrhage, and cardiomegaly. Influenza A, demonstrated in tracheal epithelium by immunocytochemistry, is the presumed cause of the mild meningitis in one case; adenovirus was cultured from swabs of the brain and anus in the second case.
Current concepts of neurogenic pulmonary edema and acute cardiac dysfunction associated with intracranial disease are discussed in considering the mechanism of sudden death in these toddlers. These cases emphasize the possibility that mild intracranial viral infections may be a rare cause of sudden death via lethal cardiopulmonary complications. They also underscore the importance of a comprehensive autopsy, including detailed neuropathologic examination and viral testing, in determining of the cause of unexpected death in toddlers.
PMID: 17378656 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]