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Six-year analysis of postmortem examination records at a teaching hospital – demographic profile and causes of deaths

Sundaram Kartikeyan, Aniruddha Arjun Malgaonkar, Mangesh Ghadge.


Abstract

Background: Medicolegal postmortem examinations are performed as mandatory legal procedures for establishing the cause of death for people dying in circumstances where multiple causes of death could be ascribed.

Objective: To conduct complete-enumeration analysis of demographic details and causes of death from postmortem examination records at a municipal teaching hospital in Thane city, Maharashtra state, India.

Materials and Methods: Data recorded on the postmortem records from Jan 1, 2009 to Dec 31, 2014 (6 years) were analyzed.

Result: Of the 3,137 cases analyzed, 27.41% were females (mean age=32.95 years; SD = 20.43 years; and 72.59% were males (mean age = 37.42 years; SD = 16.78 years). The identity of 11.16% of the deceased could not be established. Major causes of death were trauma (27.26%), asphyxia and hanging (15.3%), coronary artery disease (11.59%), tuberculosis (11.04%), alcoholic liver disease (6.41%), lower respiratory tract infections (6.64%), and drowning (6.18%). Opinion about the cause of death was reserved and the viscera preserved for 30.41% cases and 41% infant deaths. The difference in proportion of deaths due to electrocution in various areas of Thane city was significant (p = 0.00005; OR = 0.327).

Conclusion: Trauma, infectious and life-style diseases, and obstetric causes (postpartum haemorrhage and ruptured ectopic gestation) were major causes of deaths. Infant deaths occurred due to completely avoidable drowning and electrocution. A high percentage of postmortem examinations needed laboratory confirmation for establishing the cause of death.

Key words: Autopsy, demography, cause of death






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