Causes of sudden natural death in Jamaica: a medicolegal (coroner's) autopsy study from the University Hospital of the West Indies.


:Medicolegal (coroner's) autopsies are an important source of epidemiological data. A large proportion of them comprise sudden natural deaths and an analysis of such cases has never been undertaken at the University Hospital of the West Indies, the only teaching hospital in Jamaica. In a retrospective study, 841 cases of sudden natural deaths comprising 51.3% of the medicolegal autopsies conducted over the 15-year period, January 1983 to December 1997, were analyzed. There were 459 males and 382 females (M:F ratio = 1.2:1); 35 patients (4.1%) were less than 1 year of age, and the mean age of the remainder was 53.7+/-21.8 years. The peak age group was the seventh decade accounting for 21.9% of cases. The most common causes of death were cerebrovascular accidents (13.6%), pneumonia (9.4%), pulmonary embolism (7.4%), ischaemic heart disease (7.0%) and diabetes mellitus (6.1%). These findings contrasted with those from developed countries in which ischaemic heart disease is the commonest cause of sudden death. Hypertension was associated with the majority of cases of cerebrovascular accident and congestive cardiac failure (78.1 and 61.9%, respectively). Sickle cell disease represented one of the 10 most common causes of death accounting for 2.5% of cases. Documentation of autopsy-based data such as these is important in the planning of medical services in a developing country.


Forensic Sci Int


Escoffery CT,Shirley SE





Has Abstract


2002-09-26 00:00:00














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