Unexpected Perinatal Loss versus Sids-a Common Neuropathologic Entity

Luigi Matturri1 , *, Maria Mauri1, Maria Elena Ferrero2, Anna Maria Lavezzi1
1 Lino Rossi” Research Center for the study and prevention of unexpected perinatal death and SIDS, University of Milan, Italy
2 Institute of General Pathology, University of Milan, Italy

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© Matturri et al.; Licensee Bentham Open.

open-access license: This is an open access article licensed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (, which permits unrestrictive non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the work is properly cited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the “Lino Rossi” Research Center for the study and prevention of unexpected perinatal death and SIDS, University of Milan, Via della Commenda, 19, 20122 Milan, Italy; Tel: +39-02-50320800; Fax: +39-02-50320823; E-mail:


Objective: To evaluate the involvement of alterations of the central autonomic nervous system, particularly of the brainstem and cerebellum, in a wide set of victims of sudden and unexplained perinatal and infant death.

Material and Methods: The study population consisted of 63 stillbirths, 28 neonatal deaths and 140 suspected SIDS. The victims were subjected to in-depth anatomopathological examination following appropriate guidelines. The protocol included, in particular, the histological evaluation on serial sections of the cardiorespiratory autonomic nervous system.

Results: A diagnosis of “unexplained death” was established for 217 of the 231 victims (59 stillbirths, 28 newborns and 130 SIDS). In a very high percentage of these deaths (84%) we observed one or more anomalies of the nuclei and/or structures of the brainstem and cerebellum related to vital functions.

Conclusion: Unexpected perinatal loss should not be regarded as a separate entity from SIDS, given the common neuropathological substrates.

Keywords: Stillbirth, SIDS, Central Autonomic Nervous System, Brainstem, Neuropathology, Developmental Alterations.