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August 19, 1974

Embryonal Carcinoma: An Unexpected Cause of Sudden Death in a Young Adult

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Pathology, University of Michigan Medical Center, Ann Arbor.

JAMA. 1974;229(8):1093-1094. doi:10.1001/jama.1974.03230460043020

SUDDEN death occurring in young adults is rare. Luke and Helpern1 reviewed 275 consecutive cases of sudden death in patients between the ages of 28 and 44 years and found that of these deaths, 38% were caused by coronary arterial atherosclerosis, 26% by fulminant untreated infectious diseases, and 4% by pulmonary arterial emboli. Seven of the 11 patients who died of pulmonary arterial emboli were women. Pelvic veins contained thrombi in two of 11 patients, and thrombi were found in the veins of the lower extremities in the remaining nine. This communication reports an unusual case of sudden death caused by pulmonary arterial emboli in a young man.

Report of a Case  A 21-year-old white man was perfectly well until, while at work and having had just returned from a coffee break, he fell to the floor. He was found without a palpable pulse or detectable respiratory movement. Resuscitation