Autopsy Q&A by Dr. Stöppler

As the cause of death on my mother's death certificate, it reads: Late effects of right basal ganglia cerebral infarction due to arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease. She also had a mass in her left breast. Can you please explain this?

Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Medical Editor: Dennis Lee, MD

Answer:

A cerebral infarction (also known as a stroke) refers to damage to tissues in the brain due to a loss of oxygen to the area. The mention of "arteriosclerotic cerebrovascular disease" refers to arteriosclerosis, or "hardening of the arteries" that supply oxygen-containing blood to the brain. The statement above means that there was a stroke that resulted from the damaged arteries in the brain. The reference to the basal ganglia refers to the location within the brain where the stroke occurred. The basal ganglia (on both sides, referred to as right and left basal ganglia) are involved in the regulation of numerous processes, including movement. If an autopsy was performed, the autopsy report should contain additional information about the mass in the breast, including whether this mass represented a malignant tumor or benign process.

Thank you for your question.


Last Editorial Review: 2/21/2007


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