Crib death or sudden infant death syndrome is surely among the worst emotional tragedies that any parent can experience. It is the most frequent death-causing syndrome during the first year of life, striking one infant in every 700-1,000. Crib death is a great enigma, and one of the main open issues in the social-medical and scientific setting of contemporary medicine. Despite a wide spectrum of theories and years of research, its etiology remains unclear. The scarcity of knowledge in the field of crib death and its pathology has led to continued and growing concern, prompting an expanding search for explanation that will permit either prediction or rapid diagnosis.
This book describes systematic studies of the cardiovascular system and autonomic nervous system carried out in a large number of infants, newborns, and fetuses who have died suddenly and unexpectedly, as well as in age-matched control cases. The cardiovascular and neuropathological findings are presented in detail, and the relationship between crib death and unexplained perinatal death is discussed. This monograph will aid pathologists, forensic pathologists, pediatricians, obstetricians, and neonatologists in recognizing all potential morphological substrata. It puts forward a well-researched standardized postmortem protocol to be applied in all cases of sudden unexpected infant and perinatal death.