A patient with scurvy may suffer a sudden death. Recognition of scurvy can help to understand the terminal processes. Since scurvy is relatively uncommon it can easily be overlooked as the cause of death.

Causes of death in scurvy:

(1) cardiac failure or rhythm disturbance

(2) infection

(3) hemorrhage, including intracranial hemorrhage

(4) in combination with other conditions such as alcoholic liver disease


Sudden death may be triggered by exertion.


The bruising and swollen gums of scurvy may be mistaken for abuse or trauma, resulting in a false positive diagnosis.

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