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Original Articles

Sudden unexpected deaths of young adults in a tertiary care hospital for a period of four years

Authors:

I. D. G. Kitulwatte ,

Faculty of Medicine, Ragama, LK
About I. D. G.
Department of Forensic Medicine
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P A S Edirisinghe

Faculty of Medicine, Ragama, LK
About P A S
Department of Forensic Medicine
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Abstract

Introduction

Sudden unexpected natural death of a young adult is rare, but has a disproportionate impact on the community. This always requires a systematic forensic autopsy. At the completion of the autopsy it is expected to have the answers for all unanswered questions. However it is a challenge to the forensic pathologist since there are many sudden deaths without significant morphological anomalies.

Objective :

The aim of the study was to identify the causes and characteristics of sudden death among the young adults (less than 40 years of age)

Study Design :

Retrospective descriptive study was done based on the reports of post mortems performed on young adults who had died suddenly and unexpectedly due to natural reasons during past 4 years. The information was gathered on a pro-forma to fulfill the objectives. The data was analyzed using SPSS statistical package version 18.

Results :

Out of 54 autopsies analyzed, 78 % were males. 39% of the victims were of the age group of 36 to 40 years. 33% of the victims were brought to hospital before death. In 76% of the cases, a cause of death could be identified after macroscopic autopsy examination and the percentage increased to 89% after microscopy. Microscopy revealed or confirmed the cause of death in 52% of the cases. 44% were victims of sudden cardiac death. Cause of death was unascertained at the end of all the investigations in 11% of the cases.

Conclusions

Cause of death has a cardiac origin in majority of sudden unexpected deaths in young adults in the sample examined. Macroscopic autopsy examination could identify a cause of death in majority while abnormalities identified at microscopic examination accounted for death in nearly half of the sudden unnatural deaths in young adults.


Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka 2014; 2(1) : 15-21

How to Cite: Kitulwatte, I.D.G. & Edirisinghe, P.A.S., (2015). Sudden unexpected deaths of young adults in a tertiary care hospital for a period of four years. Medico-Legal Journal of Sri Lanka. 2(1), pp.15–21. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/mljsl.v2i1.7308
Published on 15 Dec 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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