• Sigitas Chmieliauskas Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania. State Forensic Medicine Service, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Sigitas Laima Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania. State Forensic Medicine Service, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Karolina Ginčienė Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania. State Forensic Medicine Service, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Gerda Andriuškevičiūtė State Forensic Medicine Service, Vilnius, Lithuania.
  • Meda Sutkevičiūtė Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania.
  • Monika Stančiukaitė Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania.
  • Jurgita Stasiūnienė Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania.
  • Algimantas Jasulaitis Faculty of Medicine, Vilnius University Lithuania.
Keywords: SIDS, salivation, asphyxia, sudden death


A sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is diagnosed in the case of a sudden and unexpected death of an infant during sleep and where an autopsy shows no obvious pathological lesions or injuries. Although literature indicates a wide range of risk factors, there is no single opinion on the specific cause of SIDS. This paper describes a study of 191 infant deaths in which the State Forensic Medicine Service established 29 SIDS cases. Microscopical and histological results of samples taken from sections of the respiratory system reveal serous fluid in the alveoli and change specific to asphyxia in all autopsy cases of infants diagnosed with SIDS. The risk of SIDS is highest in infants aged 1–4 months. Salivary gland secretion increases with the development of infant physiology, and this increase coincides with infant teething. However, in this phase, an infant’s swallowing reflex is still to form completely. Findings suggest that the serous fluid found in the alveoli was from the salivary glands, and thus, saliva aspiration may be associated with infant deaths due to SIDS.


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