Exercise-unrelated sudden death as the first event of anomalous origin of the left coronary artery from the right aortic sinus

Gabriella De Rosa, Marco Piastra, Manuela Pardeo, Elena Caresta, Arnaldo Capelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Congenital anomalous origins of the coronary arteries represents a rare but well-described cause of myocardial ischemia and sudden death. Left coronary artery (LCA) arising from the right sinus of Valsalva is a rare congenital coronary anomaly that seems to be commonly associated with sudden death in young trained athletes. The possibility of a coronary artery anomaly should always be considered in young individuals with a history of chest pain or syncope, particularly if the episodes are triggered by exercise. We describe a case of congenital LCA anomaly in an asymptomatic 10-year-old girl with no family history of sudden death; no previous unexplained syncopal episodes or exercise-induced symptoms were reported. She experienced a cardiac arrest while she was resting at school and was not recoverable despite early emergency department admission and intensive prolonged cardiopulmonary resuscitation attempts. Post-mortem pathological findings revealed a single origin from the right sinus of Valsalva for both right and left coronary arteries. The LCA was compressed between the aorta and the pulmonary trunk. Histologic features suggested recent ischemia. Although sudden death can be the first manifestation of this condition, it is important to be particularly aware of prodromic symptoms: exertional dyspnea, chest pain, syncope or dizziness. Recognition during life of this coronary anomaly is mandatory to prevent the risk of sudden death and to plan surgical correction if clinically indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-441
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Emergency Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2005


  • Anomalous origin of coronary artery
  • Children
  • Pediatrics
  • Sudden cardiac death

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Emergency Medicine


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