Causes of sudden unexpected death of adult hospital patients.
J Hosp Med. 2012 Sep 28;
Authors: Nichols L, Chew B
The sudden unexpected death of a hospitalized patient is distressing to the family and the healthcare team. It is also common. Assessment of the causes without autopsy is frequently incorrect. To elucidate the causes of death, 175 cases of adult hospital patients in the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Health System, who died suddenly and unexpectedly, were investigated with autopsies. The most common cause was judged to be a cardiac arrhythmia, in 58 (33%) of cases, presumptive in 46 cases, because only 12 of these patients were on cardiac monitoring. Of the arrhythmia patients, 36 (62%) had ?75% coronary artery stenosis and 31 (53%) had histological evidence of myocardial infarction, with 15 (26%) of those with subacute or old myocardial infarction lacking a history of myocardial infarction. Hemorrhage was judged the cause of death in 38 (22%) of cases, including 31 (82%) with endogenous coagulopathy, anticoagulation, or antiplatelet therapy. Pulmonary thromboembolism was judged the cause of death in 27 (15%) of cases. Overall, hemorrhage deserves better appreciation as a cause of sudden unexpected death of hospitalized adults. Journal of Hospital Medicine 2012; © 2012 Society of Hospital Medicine.
PMID: 23024055 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]