Autopsy and Case Reports
Autopsy and Case Reports
Autopsy Case Report

Fatal sickling-associated microvascular occlusive crisis in a young with sickle cell trait

Deepti Mutreja; Benjith Paul K; Tilak TVSVGK

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  Sickle cell trait (SCT), a heterozygous state characterized by hemoglobin AS, occurs commonly in sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Central America, India, and the Mediterranean countries. SCT is compatible with a normal lifespan and is not commonly regarded as a cause of morbid illness or death compared to its homozygous counterpart. We describe a case of fatal sickling-associated microvascular crisis, identified on post mortem evaluation in a previously undiagnosed 21-year-old military recruit with sickle cell trait. The individual presented with repeated syncope episodes during his training and was autopsied in the pursuit of cardiac anomalies and heat syncope. During the terminal episode, he collapsed and died of severe metabolic complications as he struggled to complete an organized run during routine training activities. To our knowledge, this is the first report of fatal sickling-associated crisis in a military recruit with sickle cell trait from India. This case serves to remind all armed forces and sports physicians of the importance of screening a recruit who is unable to complete exertional physical training for the presence of sickle cell trait.


Sickle Cell Trait, Autopsy, Military Personnel, Physical Exertion


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