Sudden death in a child due to an intrathoracic paraganglioma

Kenneth D. Hutchins, Dennis Dickson, Meera Hameed, Geetha A. Natarajan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A 12-year-old boy under treatment for asthma was found dead in his home. The autopsy revealed a large posterior mediastinal mass that completely compressed the upper lobe of the right lung and the associated airways. This mass extended from the right costovertebral sulcus into the thoracic spinal canal through the spinal foramen and compressed the spinal cord. It was located in the epidural space and was adherent to a nerve root. The histologic and immunocytochemical features were that of a paraganglioma. Although neurogenic tumors are the most common posterior mediastinal masses in the pediatric population, paragangliomas are rare, and spinal involvement has not been described in children. In addition, sudden death has not been reported in association with any of the 13 cases of posterior medias final paraganglioma described in the literature as involving the spine. This case illustrates an unusual cause of sudden death in a pediatric patient due to a benign neoplasm.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)338-342
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Forensic Medicine and Pathology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1999


  • Asthma
  • Mediastinal mass
  • Paraganglioma
  • Pediatric
  • Sudden death
  • Thoracic spine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


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