Sudden unexpected death from cardiac concussion (commotio cordis) with unusual legal complications

J Forensic Sci. 1979 Oct;24(4):752-6.


Sudden and unexpected death may result from cardiac concussion following blunt force trauma to the thorax. Undiagnosed pathologic disease must be carefully evaluated as a possible contributory element. Legal complications may arise from any autopsy. It is recommended that a photograph be taken upon completion of the autopsy. This photograph and adequate records can be used to refute any charges against the pathologist or assistants for the poor condition of a body after its release.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Athletic Injuries / pathology*
  • Autopsy
  • Contusions / pathology
  • Death, Sudden / etiology*
  • Forensic Medicine
  • Heart Injuries / pathology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Terminology as Topic
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / pathology*