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Death caused by cardioinhibitory reflex cardiac arrest - a systematic review of cases

Bollmann, Marc D
Published in Forensic Science International. 2011, vol. 207, no. 1-3, p. 77-83
Abstract Forensic pathologists often refer to the cardioinhibitory reflex cardiac arrest (CiRCA) following short neck trauma as a mechanism of death. We sought via a systematic review of the literature to identify circumstances under which carotid bifurcation stimulation could lead to death. Two independent reviewers selected case studies or reports from Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge, and Embase. Circumstances and contributory factors were extracted for each case. From the available data, authors independently assessed whether CiRCA was highly probable (no alternative explanation possible), probable (alternative explanation possible), or unlikely (alternative explanation highly probable). A narrative approach was used to define circumstances in which CiRCA remained possible. From the 48 published cases evoking CiRCA as a possible cause of death between 1881 and 2009, 28 were most likely to result of other mechanism of death (i.e., cerebral hypoxia due to carotid compression, mechanical asphyxia, myocardial infarction). CiRCA remained possible for 20 cases (including five based on anecdotal evidence only) with only one case with no alternative explanation other than CiRCA. Our findings support the presumption that reflex cardiac arrhythmia due to carotid bifurcation stimulation cannot provoke death alone. Actual state of knowledge suggests CiRCA might be contributory to death in the presence of drug abuse and/or cardiac pathology, often associated with physical and/or mental excitation.
Keywords Baroreflex/physiologyCarotid Sinus/physiopathologyDeath, Sudden/etiologyForensic MedicineHeart Arrest/physiopathologyHumansNeck Injuries/physiopathologySyncope/physiopathology
PMID: 20961719
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Research group Groupe Mangin Patrice (médecine légale) (862)
(ISO format)
SCHRAG, Bettina et al. Death caused by cardioinhibitory reflex cardiac arrest - a systematic review of cases. In: Forensic Science International, 2011, vol. 207, n° 1-3, p. 77-83. doi: 10.1016/j.forsciint.2010.09.010 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:24561

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Deposited on : 2012-12-14

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