Background and objective: Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is increasingly recognized in forensic practice with controversial diagnosis. Here we described the epidemiological characteristics and reported the pathogenetic mechanism, diagnostic challenges, and forensic implications of Chinese ARVC autopsy cases.
Methods: Two cases of sudden cardiac death owing to ARVC were reported. Retrospective analysis were performed on such 2 cases and 45 cases of separate ARVC complete autopsy case reports through Chinese literature databases in the last 30 years.
Results: There were 27 males and 20 females, and the mean age at death was 35 years. Sudden cardiac death was the first manifestation observed in most patients, with no previous family and medical history. Exercise, acute stress, increased cardiac workload, and ethanol are frequently involved. The mean heart weight was 393 g (range, 240-590 g), and 10 cases had relative heart hypertrophy. Microscopic abnormalities included replacement of myocardium by adipose infiltration in 68.09% cases and fibroadipose in 31.91% cases; 80.85% cases were restricted to the right ventricle (RV), whereas biventricular subtype was seen in the remaining 19.15% cases. The preliminary quantitative histology showed 60.7% of fat tissues, 12.1% of fibrosis, and 27.2% residual myocytes in RV. Inflammatory cell infiltration was found in 25.53% cases, but myocyte necrosis was found in only 1 case. In 10.64% of cases, cardiac conduction was infiltrated by fibrosis, adipose, or both.
Conclusion: In this review, the most characteristic and distinct histopathologic features that are diagnostic or highly suggestive of ARVC for forensic pathologists were identified. Combining gross and histological examinations with postmortem genetic analysis is recommended for identifying ARVC.
Copyright © 2017 The Authors. Published by Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc. All rights reserved.