Burden and commonest cause of sudden natural death among medicolegal autopsies in a tertiary care centre: a retrospective study

AUTHOR(s) : Choudhury Anurupa, Baruah Aditya Madhab, Das Himangshu
DOI No. : 10.31741/ijhrmlp.v7.i2.2021.7


Background and aims: Sudden natural death that occurred apparently to a healthy individual sometimes creates suspicions of foul play, thus subjected to medicolegal (ML) examinations. The present study aims to determine the age and sex-specific burden and identify the most typical cause of sudden natural death in ML autopsies at a tertiary care hospital. Methods: A retrospective study were conducted in the Department of Forensic Medicine, Gauhati Medical College & Hospital, Guwahati, Assam, including all autopsy cases of sudden natural death conducted from Jan 1, 2018, to Dec 31, 2018. The death circumstances were analyzed from the inquest report and hospital cause of death certificate. The distribution of the cases concerning various socio-demographic variables was presented as frequencies and percentages. The data were analyzed using Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) version 16. Results: Out of the total of 3574 autopsies, 243 (6.8%) were sudden natural deaths, with a male predominance of 82.2%. Maximum deaths occurred in the age group of 31 to 40 years (32.92%). The present study affected the married individuals (181/243) and urban residents (68.34%). The cardiovascular (45.27%) and gastrointestinal systems (20.16%) were the most common organ system involved. Among the cardiac causes, chronic coronary insufficiency was the most common cause (34.16%). Conclusion: Cardiac causes were the most typical cause of sudden natural death, particularly among the young. Medicolegal examinations can solve most of the doubts arising out of sudden natural death.

Keyword: Sudden death; autopsy; cardio-vascular; cause of death.

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