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September 1984

Cardiac Disease in Sudden Death

Author Affiliations

From the Congenital Heart and Conduction System Laboratory, Department of Pathology, Deborah Heart and Lung Center, Browns Mills, NJ, and the Department of Pathology, Temple University, Philadelphia, and Pennsylvania State University, The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey, Pa.

Arch Intern Med. 1984;144(9):1811-1812. doi:10.1001/archinte.1984.00350210133023

Sudden death may be related to disease in various organs, including the heart. When disease is related to the heart, the basic cause may lie in the myocardium of the atria or ventricles, or in the conduction system.

One of the neglected areas in attempts to explain the cause of sudden death is the conduction system. This is because a thorough examination of the conduction system entails serial sections,1-3 and some pathology laboratories are not equipped to do that. Furthermore, such an examination takes time and thus may delay investigation.

We have been studying for some time the conduction system in patients who have died suddenly. This study had yielded a great deal of data, which have shed some light on this unfortunate occurrence. Life and death are basically physiologic, and only the anatomic substrate of the physiologic states is within the reach of the morphologist.

If the cause