Sudden death caused by Clostridium perfringens sepsis presenting as massive intravascular hemolysis

Autops Case Rep. 2020 Jul 30;10(3):e2020185. doi: 10.4322/acr.2020.185.


An 80-year-old Japanese woman with diabetes mellitus was admitted with gastrointestinal symptoms and pyrexia. At presentation, liver abscesses and severe hemolytic anemia were noted. Before detailed diagnostic evaluation and adequate treatment, she suddenly died 2.5 hours after admission. The autopsy and bacteriological examinations revealed liver abscesses and massive intravascular hemolysis caused by Clostridium perfringens as well as other miscellaneous critical pathological findings, including acute renal tubular necrosis, lung edema, and pulmonary fat embolism. In this article, the detailed autopsy results are described and clinicopathologic characteristics on Clostridium perfringens-related sudden death are discussed with a review of the literature.

Keywords: Clostridium perfringens; Death, Sudden; Embolism, Fat; Hemolysis; Sepsis.

Publication types

  • Case Reports