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עמוד בית
Thu, 25.07.24


IMAJ | volume 26

Journal 1, January 2024
pages: 56-61

New Insights on Tutankhamun's Cause of Death: Combination Theory and Splenic Rupture

1 Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism, Zvulun Medical Center, Kiryat Bialik, Israel 2 Azrieli Faculty of Medicine, Bar-Ilan University, Safed, Israel 3 Department of Neurosciences and Neurosurgery, Hannover Medical School, Hannover, Germany


The cause of death for Pharaoh Tutankhamun (ca. 1330–1324 BCE) is still unknown despite the advancement in modern paleopathology and the introduction of computed tomography mummy examination and modern molecular pathology, including PCR-based gene analysis. Many speculations regarding his unexpected death have been published, including crush injury, infectious diseases such as malaria, and hereditary disease. We discuss for the first time all these events that could have ultimately caused Tutankhamun's sudden death, particularly sickle cell disease, which can cause osteonecrosis and lead to walking disability, bone deformities, and fragility. Malaria-associated tropical splenomegaly, as an acquired infectious disease, and the crush injury, which represents an acute event, were verified by a left distal femur fracture that contributed to splenic rupture as a major fatal event. We highlight important issues that can provide clinicians and clinical care practitioners with a broad vision while analyzing such cases.

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