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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 45-52

Demographic characteristics and causes of death for persons brought in dead to emergency department of a Tertiary Health Facility in South-West Nigeria

Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, Lagos, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Oluseyi Adegoke
Department of Medicine, College of Medicine, University of Lagos, P. M. B. 12003 Idi-Araba, Lagos
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/npmj.npmj_170_18

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Introduction: Identifying the demographic characteristics and causes of death in persons 'brought-in-dead' (BID) will inform possible strategies for the prevention of their occurrence. Objective: To characterise the demography as well as document the autopsy-determined underlying and immediate causes of death in BID cases presenting to the emergency department (ED) of a tertiary health facility. Methods: This is a 5-year retrospective descriptive study of 253 autopsied-BID cases. Data were obtained from ED 'death-register' and the hospital 'autopsy-register'. The underlying and immediate causes of death were classified and analysed across the age groups of 21–40, 41–60 and >60 years. Results: The age of the cases ranged from 22 to 101 years with a median of 56.0 (38-72) years. Almost half [110(43.5%)] of the cases were in the age-group >60 years. The male-to-female ratio was 1.04:1, and their ages were comparable. Non-communicable diseases accounted for 216 (85.4%) of the underlying causes of death. Three major specialities contributing to death were medicine 117 (46.2%), oncology 45 (17.0%) and surgery/trauma 42 (16.6%). Specialties of medicine and surgery/trauma were predominantly in age groups >60 years (60.0%) (P ≤ 0.0001) and 20–40 years (31.5%) (P = 0.0001), respectively. The chief underlying causes of death in the specialities of medicine, oncology and surgery/trauma were cardiovascular diseases (61 [52.1%]), breast cancer (11 [24.4%]) and road traffic accidents (31 [73.8%]), respectively. Overall immediate causes of death included heart failure (21.3%), unspecified circulatory collapse (17.0%), central nervous system pathologies (16.6%) and haemorrhagic shock (10.7%). Heart failure (33.6% [37/110]) and haemorrhagic shock (28.8% [21/73]) were the most common immediate causes of death in the >60 years' and 20–40 years' age groups, respectively. Conclusion: Non-communicable diseases are the leading causes of death in persons 'BID'. Deaths from medical conditions, especially heart failure, occurred mainly in the elderly. Deaths from trauma and haemorrhage occurred predominantly in the young.

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