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Research: Sudden death after being in a bounce house: a late complication of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

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Research: Sudden death after being in a bounce house: a late complication of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Forensic Sci Med Pathol

. 2021 Aug 27. doi: 10.1007/s12024-021-00408-7. Online ahead of print. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34449015/

Sudden death after being in a bounce house: a late complication of congenital diaphragmatic hernia

Kendall Smith 1Brandy Shattuck 2James Elliott 3Affiliations expand

Abstract

A 3-year-old white female with no significant past medical history was found unresponsive and apneic after several hours of vomiting. The patient had reportedly felt unwell since jumping in a bounce house at a festival earlier in the day. After one hour of attempted resuscitation by EMS and hospital staff, the patient was pronounced deceased. On autopsy there was a 3 cm opening in the left posterolateral hemidiaphragm with the spleen, the stomach, and portions of the small and large bowel displaced into the left chest cavity, resulting in compression of both lungs and the heart to the right side of the chest. The right lung weighed 295 g while the left lung weighed 73 g. Histologic examination revealed atelectasis in the left lung and congestion in the right lung, the spleen, the stomach, and the bowel. The cause of death was ultimately ruled to be respiratory compromise and associated gastrointestinal complications due to diaphragmatic herniation of abdominal contents into the chest cavity. It is hypothesized that herniation occurred in this case secondary to increased intra-abdominal pressure from jumping in a bounce house, an etiology that we were unable to find elsewhere despite a thorough literature search.

Keywords: Bounce house; Congenital diaphragmatic hernia; Intra-abdominal pressure; Respiratory compromise.

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