Sudden death in a stable medullary infarction case frequently induces legal problems. Currently, the etiology of the most reported cases are not known because autopsy is rare. Here, we report one female patient with medullary infarction who experienced a sudden cardiopulmonary arrest during a brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) study. The blood flow changes on the MRI indicated that her death resulted from the sudden collapse of systemic circulation. Dysautonomia, or sudden respiratory arrest resulting from brainstem dysfunction, was suspected. In this report, we present her cranial MRI findings and discuss the possible pathophysiology after reviewing the relevant literature. We also recommend certain tests for patients with medullary infarction to prevent the risk of sudden unexpected deaths.
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