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Invited commentary on: sudden cardiac death
  1. Melanie C. Bois, M.D.
  1. Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA
  1. Correspondence to Melanie C. Bois, M.D., Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology and Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA; Bois.Melanie{at}mayo.edu

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Postmortem examination holds a pivotal role in our society. The implications of this procedure are vast, ranging from medicolegal consequences to characterisation of heritable genetic syndromes and closure for those proximal to the deceased. Despite its widespread intrinsic value, a surprising 1%–5% of postmortem examinations will lack revealing gross, histologic, or laboratory findings that inform the cause of death.1 2 The so-called ‘negative autopsy’ is a challenge for the medical system and relatives of the deceased alike.

A specific list of differential diagnoses is considered in the setting of a negative autopsy. Among potential causes, cardiac aetiologies are common due to the complex nature of the organ and the electrical systems within. Specifically, arrhythmogenic …

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Footnotes

  • Handling editor Vikram Deshpande.

  • Contributors N/A.

  • Funding The authors have not declared a specific grant for this research from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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