Which autopsy findings are characteristic of Corynebacterium infections?

Updated: Jun 14, 2019
  • Author: Lynda A Frassetto, MD; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Answer

At autopsy, the heart is pale brown, soft, and enlarged, with a characteristic streaky appearance.

Neutral fat accumulations are observed in approximately 50% of patients, with extensive hyaline degeneration and necrosis with inflammatory changes.

Electron microscopy demonstrates swollen disorganized mitochondria that contain dense osmophilic granules.

The coronary vessels, valves, endocardial surfaces, and epicardial surfaces are unaffected.

Microscopic examination of the affected nerves shows myelin sheath and axon degeneration. In particular, the large myelinated fibers are affected, demonstrating characteristic segmental demyelination.

In fatal cases, the kidneys demonstrate interstitial edema and necrosis at autopsy.


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