Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Death of teen-ager explained

Heart failure rare

By Cindy Kranz
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Michael Pangallo, the 15-year-old whose sudden death shocked the Milford community last month, died as a result of a rare heart condition, the Clermont County Coroner's Office said Tuesday.

        Michael, who would have been a junior at Milford High School this fall, was staying overnight with four other boys at a friend's home when he died in his sleep June22.

        An autopsy failed to shed light on his death, but further tests revealed the cause, officials said.

        Darrell Hawkins, investigator with the coroner's office, said the cause of death was a cardiac conduction disorder because of fatty infiltration of the atrioventricular node.

        “That particular node is one of the two anatomical pacemakers contained in the human heart,” he said.

        “Fat was growing in that node in an area that fat is not supposed to grow,” Mr. Hawkins said.

        “It's something they always look for to eliminate as a cause of death, but rarely see it.

        “It's just a malformation of fatty tissue in the heart.”

        The coroner's office did not suspect foul play in Michael's death, nor did it find any evidence of drugs, Mr. Hawkins said.

        Counselors were available at Milford High School following his death.

        On Sunday, two Milford churches sponsored a night of remembrance for Michael's friends.


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