TB-related sudden death (TBRSD) due to myocarditis complicating miliary TB: a case report and review of the literature

Am J Forensic Med Pathol. 2006 Dec;27(4):335-6. doi: 10.1097/01.paf.0000233633.16185.32.


TB-related sudden death (TBRSD) is rarely reported in the literature and in the majority of cases is due to bronchopneumonia and hemoptysis. Cardiac complications of tuberculosis causing sudden death can take many forms and are rarer still, with only a handful of cases reported. We describe a case of a previously fit and healthy 20-year-old Asian female who, after returning from a holiday in India, collapsed while getting off a bus. At postmortem, the only macroscopic finding of note was a localized area of fibrosis on the anterior wall of the left ventricle. Microscopic examination of this area showed Langhans giant cells; noncaseating epithelioid granulomas and acid-fast bacilli were demonstrated on Ziehl Nielsen staining. In addition, the lungs, liver, and kidneys contained multiple noncaseating granulomas. The case serves to highlight the protean nature in the presentation of this disease and the importance of postmortem histology in autopsy work.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Autopsy
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac*
  • Female
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Humans
  • Myocarditis / complications
  • Myocarditis / pathology*
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / complications
  • Tuberculosis, Miliary / pathology*