sudden death

The sudden death - Unexpected death in a person who previously seemed to be healthy. The most common cause of sudden death in adults is cardiac arrest (cessation of the heartbeat). Cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle) may cause sudden death at any age, and its presence may have been unsuspected.

Sudden death may also occur as a result of stroke or in people with unsuspected myocarditis (inflammation of the heart muscle) or pneumonia. Less common causes of a sudden death include anaphylactic shock (a severe allergic reaction), a severe attack of asthma, and suicide. In infants, death without warning is termed sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), or cot death.

The sudden death of a person of any age must be reported to the coroner, who decides whether there should be an autopsy (postmortem examination).


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