Sudden death in a child caused by a giant cavernous hemangioma of the anterior mediastinum

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3 Citations (Scopus)


A 4-year-old girl who had been treated for asthma since the age of 2 years had a severe coughing fit and died suddenly. The patient had a history of occasional severe coughing fits, and these fits had been worsening in severity during the week before her death. Prior to death, she was taken to a clinician, and thymic hypertrophy was suspected based on chest X-ray findings. The clinician recommended that she visit a general hospital at a later date; however, she died that night. Postmortem radiology and autopsy revealed a large mass in the anterior mediastinum compressing the heart and airway, and no other findings attributable to sudden death were observed. Therefore, we concluded that the patient's death was attributable to acute respiratory and cardiac circulatory failure secondary to the pressure induced by the mass. Microscopically, the mass showed a cavernous structure composed of cystically dilated, thin-walled large vessels filled with blood. The final diagnosis was a cavernous hemangioma. Hemangiomas are the most common benign vascular anomalies seen in young children; however, mediastinal hemangiomas are rare and can cause life-threatening complications because of their size and location. Therefore, forensic pathologists should include hemangioma as a differential diagnosis in children with anterior mediastinal masses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)93-97
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Forensic and Legal Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Nov
Externally publishedYes


  • Cavernous hemangioma
  • Mediastinal mass
  • Sudden death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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