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Death - Top 30 Publications

Electroencephalographic Recordings During Withdrawal of Life-Sustaining Therapy Until 30 Minutes After Declaration of Death.

The timing of the circulatory determination of death for organ donation presents a medical and ethical challenge. Concerns have been raised about the timing of electrocerebral inactivity in relation to the cessation of circulatory function in organ donation after cardio-circulatory death. Nonprocessed electroencephalographic (EEG) measures have not been characterized and may provide insight into neurological function during this process.

Sudden Cardiac Death with Myocardial Infarction after Free-flap Lower Extremity Reconstruction.

Four Japanese 'Death Poems' With comment by John Birtwhistle.

Organ Donation and Elective Ventilation: A Necessary Strategy.

Organ transplantation is the sole treatment to improve or save the life of patients with final-stage organ failure. The shortage of available organs for transplantation constitutes a universal problem, estimating that 10% of patients on waiting lists die. Brain death is an undesirable result; nevertheless, it has beneficial side-effects since it is the most frequent source of organs for transplantation. However, this phenomenon is relatively uncommon and has a limited potential. One of the options that focuses on increasing organ donation is to admit patients with catastrophic brain injuries (with a high probability of brain death and nontreatable) to the Intensive Care Unit, with the only purpose of donation. To perform elective nontherapeutic ventilation (ENTV), a patient's anticipated willingness to donate organs and/or explicit acceptance by his/her relatives is required. This process should focus exclusively on those patients with catastrophic brain injuries and imminent risk of death which, due to its acute damage, are not considered treatable. This article defends ENTV as an effective strategy to improve donation rate, analyzing its ethical and legal basis.

A Synthesis of Coping Experiences After Infant Death.

The purpose of this article was to synthesize qualitative research data that examine parental coping strategies following infant death. This qualitative synthesis found that parents who effectively cope with the death of their infant would continue the bond with the deceased child, have differences in the way they manage their emotions about the loss, and have intergenerational support in the form of family being present, acknowledging the death, performing immediate tasks, and providing helpful information. Nurses should be vigilant to ensure parents receive "memories" of their infant after an in-hospital death. Knowledge of the coping process can assist nurses and clinicians to better care and support parents following an infant death and, in turn, facilitate the healing process.

Suspected atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome in two post-partum patients with foetal-death in utero responding to eculizumab.

Atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) is a rare condition with the triad of microangiopathic haemolytic anaemia, thrombocytopenia and acute kidney injury. Other conditions that present in a similar manner peri-partum include thrombotic thrombocytopaenic purpura, and pregnancy associated conditions including HELLP syndrome (haemolysis, elevated liver enzymes and low platelets), severe pre-eclampsia and less commonly acute fatty liver of pregnancy.

Treatment of bronchial foreign body aspiration with extracorporeal life support in a child: A case report and literature review.

We present a case in which extracorporeal life support treatment of a 6-year-old girl asphyxiated by aspiration of an elliptic plastic ball is described. The attempts for extraction of the foreign body by conventional bronchoscopy under critically ill conditions had failed. Thus, a skin incision was made in the midline, and an emergency open-chest cardiopulmonary bypass (CPB) with aortic, superior vena cava and inferior vena cava cannulation was performed for circulatory support. Following tracheal extubation, a video-assisted rigid bronchoscope was inserted to clear the airway and remove the foreign body. The CPB lasted for 68 min, and the endotracheal tube was pulled out 6 h after the surgery. On the 10th day, the patient was discharged and followed up for 3 months when no neurological symptoms or other complications were documented. The removal of the aspirated bronchial foreign body under extracorporeal life support has been rarely reported. Here, we review the indication, cannulation method, support mode, surgical procedure, and patient outcome in the 8 papers retrieved from the PubMed database and compare their clinical characteristics with those of our case to justify the safe and effective use of CPB for critically ill patients with bronchial foreign body aspiration.

Histopathological changes in lungs of the mountain snow avalanche victims and its potential usefulness in determination of cause and mechanism of death.

On 28 January 2003 snow avalanche in the Polish Tatras happened, in which 8 people died and 5 were injured. We tried to determine cause and manner of death in 6 fatal victims instead of advanced late post mortem changes in internal organs. Taking into consideration the circumstances of death, we paid special attention to histopathological examination of lungs, extended by Gomori's and AZAN staining. Pattern of the changes was similar to those observed in forensic medicine in cases of asphyxia due to airway obstruction and/or immobilization of chest and abdomen (Perthes' syndrome). Histopathological study with the use of more specific staining methods has a significant diagnostic value during establishing the cause and mechanism of death of the deceased snow avalanche victims with advanced post mortem changes.

Couvelaire uterus: bad aspect but normal uterine function.

Determinants of stillbirths in Northern Ghana: a case control study.

Stillbirths are more common than the death of a baby after birth. In 2012, Tamale Metropolitan Area in the Northern Region of Ghana reported 35 stillbirths per 1,000 deliveries. This study was therefore conducted to determine the sociodemographic, obstetric and maternal medical health related risk factors associated with stillbirths.

Brugada syndrome: Diagnosis, risk stratification and management.

Brugada syndrome is a rare inherited arrhythmia syndrome leading to an increased risk of sudden cardiac death, despite a structurally normal heart. Diagnosis is based on a specific electrocardiogram pattern, observed either spontaneously or during a sodium channel blocker test. Among affected patients, risk stratification remains a challenge, despite recent insights from large population cohorts. As implantable cardiac defibrillators - the main therapy in Brugada syndrome - are associated with a high rate of complications in this population, the main challenge is risk stratification of patients with Brugada syndrome. Aside from the two main predictors of arrhythmia (symptoms and spontaneous electrocardiogram pattern), many risk factors have been recently suggested for stratifying risk of sudden cardiac death in Brugada syndrome. We have reviewed these data and discuss current guidelines in light of recent progress in this complex field.

Cable tie suicide.

Postmortem Genetic Testing for Sudden Unexpected Death-Reply.

Postmortem Genetic Testing for Sudden Unexpected Death.

Factors Associated with a Family's Delay of Decision for Organ Donation After Brain Death.

BACKGROUND This study aimed to explore the factors associated with a family's delay of decision for organ donation after brain death, and to investigate the effect of such a delay on organ donation. MATERIAL AND METHODS Medical records and data on counseling about organ donation with the families of 107 brain-dead potential donors between September 2012 and March 2016 at a single tertiary medical center were retrospectively reviewed. RESULTS The final consent rate was 58% (62/107), and successful donation was performed in 40% (43/107). Ninety-two families (86%) made a decision within 48 hours, whereas 15 (14%) required more than 48 hours for a final decision. In univariate and multivariate analyses, the independent factors associated with a decision delay were mean arterial pressure ≤60 mm Hg and coma therapy. In the early decision group (<48 hours), the consent and successful donation rates were 55% (51/92) and 39% (36/92), respectively, whereas in the delayed decision group (≥48 hours), these rates were 73% (11/15) and 47% (7/15), respectively. The consent and successful donation rates were not inferior in the delayed decision group. CONCLUSIONS These findings justify continuous efforts to maintain organ viability and to extend counseling to encourage donation even if the family cannot decide immediately.

Looking forward: PACES Task Force on prevention of sudden cardiac death in the young: a comprehensive approach to a preventable problem.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation for primary and secondary prevention: indications and outcomes.

Implantable cardioverter-defibrillators effectively reduce the rate of sudden cardiac death in children. Significant efforts have been made to better characterise the indications for their placement, and over the past two decades there has been a shift in their use from secondary to primary prevention. Primary prevention includes placement in patients thought to be at high risk of sudden cardiac death before the patient experiences any event. Secondary prevention includes placement after a high-risk event including sustained ventricular tachycardia or resuscitated cardiac arrest. Although liberal device implantation may be appealing even in patients having marginal indications, studies have shown high rates of adverse effects including inappropriate device discharges and the need for re-intervention because of hardware malfunction. The indications for placement of an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator, whether for primary or secondary prevention of sudden cardiac death, vary based on cardiac pathology. This review will assist the provider in understanding the risks and benefits of device implantation in order to enhance the shared decision-making capacity of patients, families, and providers.

Athletic participation in the young patient with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator.

The decision of whether to allow a young patient with an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator to continue to participate in sports is complex and multi-factorial. The positive physical and psychosocial impact of sports participation must be weighed against the potential adverse events associated with implantable cardioverter-defibrillators. Arrhythmias appear to be more prevalent in athletes and occur more frequently during physical activity or competition/practice, but there is growing evidence that device therapy is effective in athletes across a wide range of competitive sports. Failure of a device to convert a life-threatening arrhythmia, major injury from a shock, and increased lead failure have thus far not been reported in the prospective Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator Sports Registry, but follow-up remains relatively short. Thoughtful consideration of disease state, arrhythmia risk, and the potential dangers of device therapy during the desired sports is imperative before allowing participation. Frank discussion with children and families regarding the possibility of shocks during sports, as well as at other times, is imperative. Ongoing and future studies will help guide these decisions.

How implantable cardioverter-defibrillators work and simple programming.

Following the sudden death of a friend in 1966, Dr Michel Mirowski began pioneering work on the first implantable cardioverter-defibrillator. By 1969 he had developed an experimental model and performed the first transvenous defibrillation. In 1970 he reported on the use of a "standby automatic defibrillator" that was tested successfully in dogs. He postulated that such a device "when adapted for clinical use, might be implanted temporarily or permanently in selected patients particularly prone to develop ventricular fibrillation and thus provide them with some degree of protection from sudden coronary death". In 1980 he reported on the first human implants of an "electronic device designed to monitor cardiac electrical activity, to recognise ventricular fibrillation and ventricular tachyarrhythmias … and then to deliver corrective defibrillatory discharges". Through innovations in circuitry, battery, and capacitor technologies, the current implantable cardioverter-defibrillator is 10 times smaller and exponentially more sophisticated than that first iteration. This article will review the inner workings of the implantable cardioverter-defibrillator and outline several features that make it the wonder in technology that it has become.

Return to play in the athlete with cardiac disease: who decides and what is the protocol?

Improved public awareness and advances in medical diagnostics have resulted in the development of criteria to determine eligibility or disqualification for the athlete with cardiovascular abnormalities. Simultaneously, protocols have been developed for athletes with concussion or orthopaedic injuries to guide team physicians and consultants in return-to-play decisions. However, there are currently inadequate data to allow the development of such protocols for athletes with cardiovascular abnormalities who have undergone treatment. Further complicating the decision process is the designation of the team physician as the ultimate authority in making return-to-play decisions - where the team physician often is an employee of the team and supports the team's goal and players as well as the individual athlete. This review will discuss the ethical dilemma of the team physician and the role of the cardiovascular consultant. Following this, current data and practices regarding return to play will be discussed for the following conditions or diagnoses: following catheter ablation for supraventricular tachycardia; following pacemaker or implantable cardioverter-defibrillator implantation; unexplained syncope; and the athlete with a genetic mutation in the absence of any phenotype of associated disease. These recommendations will undoubtedly continue to evolve and improve and should be considered at this time as a point of departure.

A legal perspective on athlete screening and disqualification.

Physicians participate in the screening, routine medical supervision, and disqualification of student-athletes. In doing so, they should understand that eligibility/disqualification decisions inevitably have associated liability issues. It is the responsibility of physicians to take the lead role in the student-athlete medical assessment process to allow for optimum safety in sports programmes. The first duty of the physician is to protect the health and well-being of the student-athlete. However, because there is potential liability associated with the screening/disqualification process, physicians are wise to develop sound and reasonable strategies that are in strict compliance with the standard of care. This article focusses on cardiac screening and disqualification for participation in sports.

Morbidities in the ultra-athlete and marathoner.

The cardiovascular benefits of habitual exercise are well documented. In the current era, more of the population is exceeding the recommendations for physical activity as the popularity of endurance events increases. Recent data have proposed a U-shaped relationship between exercise intensity and cardiovascular outcomes. Regular participation in endurance activities has been shown to result in structural and functional changes in the heart. This re-modelling may be the substrate for cardiac dysfunction or arrhythmias. The risk of sudden cardiac death may also be elevated; however, in most cases of sudden cardiac death, the cause can be linked to an underlying cardiac pathology where exercise acted as the trigger for a lethal arrhythmia. This article serves to review whether excessive exercise may result in harm in some athletes.

Screening the apparently healthy athlete for risk: a paradigm in transition.

It has largely been accepted that pre-participation screening for student athletes is necessary, but there is still no consensus on the most effective and efficient ways to accomplish this. Most clinical strategies are based on retrospective case series. By applying the European Society of Cardiology and Seattle criteria, electrocardiography appears to afford the lowest false-positive rate for identifying potentially dangerous cardiac abnormalities in athletes. Prospective, randomised trials may help determine the most effective primary prevention. Normative data for age, gender, and ethnicity for screening tools need to be formulated to further reduce false-positive results. Targeted advanced screening aimed at the highest risk groups may be the most beneficial and cost-effective application of primary prevention.

The role of illicit drug use in sudden death in the young.

The recreational use of illicit drugs remains an enormous and growing problem throughout the United States of America and around the world. Cocaine is most frequently thought of when considering the cardiovascular toxicity of illicit drugs. The association of cocaine use with sudden death due to myocardial ischaemia and infarction is well recognised, and this risk appears to be amplified by concomitant cigarette smoking and alcohol consumption. Like cocaine, amphetamine and its derivatives lead to indirect stimulation of the autonomic nervous system through the release of norepinephrine, dopamine, and serotonin in nerve terminals of the central and autonomic nervous systems. However, amphetamine lacks the ion channel-blocking properties of cocaine. Also similar to cocaine, coronary artery spasm may be induced in individuals with or without atherosclerotic disease and may lead to myocardial infarction. With the movement across the United States of America to legalise marijuana, or cannabis, for medicinal and recreational purposes, it is important to consider its potential deleterious effects. Marijuana has long been thought to have very few adverse effects with the exception of long-term dependence. There are, however, scattered reports of acute adverse events up to and including sudden death. These appear to be due to myocardial infarction. In conclusion, the incidence of sudden death associated with the use of these drugs varies from rare in the case of marijuana use to not infrequent with some drugs such as cocaine. It is important for care providers to recognise the potential for drug abuse when caring for a sudden cardiac arrest survivor.

Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome: lessons learnt and lessons remaining.

The Wolff-Parkinson-White pattern refers to the electrocardiographic appearance in sinus rhythm, wherein an accessory atrioventricular pathway abbreviates the P-R interval and causes a slurring of the QRS upslope - the "delta wave". It may be asymptomatic or it may be associated with orthodromic reciprocating tachycardia; however, rarely, even in children, it is associated with sudden death due to ventricular fibrillation resulting from a rapid response by the accessory pathway to atrial fibrillation, which itself seems to result from orthodromic reciprocating tachycardia. Historically, patients at risk for sudden death were characterised by the presence of symptoms and a shortest pre- excited R-R interval during induced atrial fibrillation <250 ms. Owing to the relatively high prevalence of asymptomatic Wolff-Parkinson-White pattern and availability of catheter ablation, there has been a need to identify risk among asymptomatic patients. Recent guidelines recommend invasive evaluation for such patients where pre-excitation clearly does not disappear during exercise testing. This strategy has a high negative predictive value only. The accuracy of this approach is under continued investigation, especially in light of other considerations: Patients having intermittent pre-excitation, once thought to be at minimal risk may not be, and the role of isoproterenol in risk assessment.

Advances in the diagnosis and treatment of catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia.

Since the sentinel description of exercise-triggered ventricular arrhythmias in 21 children, our recognition and understanding of catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia has improved substantially. A variety of treatments are now available, but reaching a diagnosis before cardiac arrest remains a challenge. Most cases are related to variants in the gene encoding for ryanodine receptor-2 (RyR2), which mediates calcium-induced calcium release. Up to half of cases remain genetically elusive. The condition is presently incurable, but one basic intervention, the universal administration of β-blockers, has improved survival. In the past, implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs) were frequently implanted, especially in those with a history of cardiac arrest. Treatment limitations include under-dosing and poor compliance with β-blockers, and potentially lethal ICD-related electrical storm. Newer therapies include flecainide and sympathetic ganglionectomy. Limited data have suggested that genotype may predict phenotype in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, including a higher risk of life-threatening cardiac events in subjects with variants in the C-terminus of ryanodine receptor-2 (RyR2). At present, international efforts are underway to better understand this condition through large prospective registries. The recent publication of gene therapy in an animal model of the recessive form of the disease highlights the importance of improving our understanding of the genetic underpinnings of the disease.

Sports participation in long QT syndrome.

Untreated congenital long QT syndrome may result in potentially lethal ventricular tachycardia. In the most common type, risk of such an event has been linked to exercise. This originally resulted in very restrictive guidelines for sports participation in affected individuals. Although the complex interactions of a specific genotype, modifying cofactors, and risk are only now being explored, scientific evidence based on clinical experience now suggests that in many instances such restrictive guidelines are unwarranted. In particular, patients with this condition who are compliant with β-blocker therapy and who have never had symptoms during exertion are now enjoying the benefits of athletic activity.

Sudden death due to aortic pathology.

Sudden death from aortic dissection of an ascending aortic aneurysm is an uncommon but important finding in all series of sudden death in young, apparently healthy athletes. Individuals at risk include those having any of a variety of conditions in which structural weakness of the ascending aorta predisposes to pathological dilation under prolonged periods of increased wall stress. These conditions include Marfan syndrome, Loeys-Dietz syndrome, bicuspid aortic valve, and the vascular form of Ehlers-Danlos syndrome. Diagnostic criteria, surveillance strategies, medical management, and surgical indications are discussed. Finally, the current recommendations for sports participation are provided.

Acquired and congenital coronary artery abnormalities.

Sudden unexpected cardiac deaths in approximately 20% of young athletes are due to acquired or congenital coronary artery abnormalities. Kawasaki disease is the leading cause for acquired coronary artery abnormalities, which can cause late coronary artery sequelae including aneurysms, stenosis, and thrombosis, leading to myocardial ischaemia and ventricular fibrillation. Patients with anomalous left coronary artery from the pulmonary artery can develop adequate collateral circulation from the right coronary artery in the newborn period, which remains asymptomatic only to manifest in adulthood with myocardial ischaemia, ventricular arrhythmias, and sudden death. Anomalous origin of coronary artery from the opposite sinus occurs in 0.7% of the young general population aged between 11 and 15 years. If the anomalous coronary artery courses between the pulmonary artery and the aorta, sudden cardiac death may occur during or shortly after vigorous exercise, especially in patients where the anomalous left coronary artery originates from the right sinus of Valsalva. Symptomatic patients with evidence of ischaemia should have surgical correction. No treatment is needed for asymptomatic patients with an anomalous right coronary artery from the left sinus of Valsalva. At present, there is no consensus regarding how to manage asymptomatic patients with anomalous left coronary artery from the right sinus of Valsalva and interarterial course. Myocardial bridging is commonly observed in cardiac catheterisation and it rarely causes exercise-induced coronary syndrome or cardiac death. In symptomatic patients, refractory or β-blocker treatment and surgical un-bridging may be considered.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.

Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy is a common, inherited heart disease with a heterogeneous clinical presentation and natural history. Recently, advances in diagnosis and treatment options have been instrumental in decreasing the frequency of adverse clinical events; however, complete elimination of sudden cardiac death still remains an elusive gain. This article discusses several aspects of this condition in the young: epidemiology, clinical phenotypes, risk factors, prevention of sudden cardiac death, and risks of athletic participation.