OBJECTIVES: The present study to study and correlate pathological changes in deaths associated with pulmonary form of leptospirosis with clinico-diagnostic aspects of the infection.
METHOD: There had been 21 leptospirosis related autopsy examinations performed at forensic medicine unit of the Karapitiya Teaching Hospital from January to December 2008. The clinical, laboratory and autopsy findings of these cases were recorded in detail and analyzed.
RESULTS: The characteristic autopsy feature of all these cases was a moderate to severe pulmonary haemorrhage in association with hepato-renal, myocardial and cerebral lesions. The histology of the lung tissues in most cases showed extensive alveolar haemorrhages, hyaline like deposits, neutrophilic infiltrations, swollen septa with congested blood vessels.
CONCLUSION: Severe pulmonary complications are mostly responsible for all fatalities due to leptospirosis in our series. Though there are no reliable clinical indicators that suggest probability of developing pulmonary haemorrhages, we emphasize that respiratory functions and haematological parameters need to be closely monitored in all hospitalized patients with leptospirosis for early detection and prevention of haemorrhagic complications.