Objective: To report the case of five month old female baby with a history of episodes of gastro-oesophageal reflux and pneumonia. Her sudden death offered a unique insight into the possible role of delayed neuronal maturation and hypoplasia of the hypoglossal nucleus in representing a likely morphological substrate of sudden death.
Methods: Morphometric analysis was carried out with an Image-Pro Plus Image analyser (Media Cybernetics) on both sides of the brain stem.
Results: Hypoplasia and neuronal immaturity of the hypoglossal nucleus were demonstrated, accompanied by hypoplasia of the arcuate nucleus.
Conclusions: Much attention should be paid to the possible role of the hypoglossal nucleus in determining a lethal outcome in infancy through impairment of deglutition and subsequent recurrent episodes of pneumonia, and as a necropsy finding.
- SIDS, sudden infant death syndrome
- hypoglossal nucleus hypoplasia
- hypoglossal nucleus neuronal immaturity
- aspiration pneumonia
- passive smoking
- borderline SIDS
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