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Sudden death as presenting symptom caused by cardiac primary multicentric left ventricle rhabdomyoma, in an 11-month-old baby. An immunohistochemical study

Margherita Neri1, Sabina Di Donato2, Rocco Maglietta3, Cristoforo Pomara1, Irene Riezzo1, Emanuela Turillazzi1 and Vittorio Fineschi1*

Author affiliations

1 Department of Forensic Pathology, University of Foggia, Ospedale Colonnello D’Avanzo, Via degli Aviatori 1, Foggia, 71100, Italy

2 ASL BAT, Ospedale di Barletta, Barletta, 76121, Italy

3 ASL, Ospedale di Matera, Matera, 75100, Italy

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Citation and License

Diagnostic Pathology 2012, 7:169  doi:10.1186/1746-1596-7-169

Published: 3 December 2012


This case report describes a sudden cardiac death in an apparent healthy 11-month-old infant caused by a multifocal cardiac rhabdomyoma. Parents reported that a few days before the child had fallen to the ground getting a little superficial injury to the scalp. The authors hypothesize that it may have been a transient loss of consciousness episode caused by the cardiac tumour. After the gross examination, histological investigation supported by immunohistochemical analysis using antibody anti- Myoglobin, Actin, Vimentin, Desmin, CD34, S-100, Ki-67 was carried out for the diagnosis. Death was attributed to a multifocal cardiac rhabdomyoma, a benign tumour of striated muscle, which has been completely asymptomatic. In particular, one mass filled the entire posterior wall of the left ventricle. The insidious development of benign cardiac tumours also in infants and children is outlined, focusing on the responsible mechanisms of sudden death in such cases and providing a reference for additional study on these subjects.

Virtual slides

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Cardiac rhabdomyoma; Sudden death; Cardiac tumours; Paediatric tumours