Pattern of sudden cardiac deaths

Medico-Legal Journal, Ahead of Print.
Background and objectiveSudden cardiac death can be defined as a sudden, unexpected death caused by loss of heart function. Notwithstanding major developments in the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease, it remains the major contributing factor for deaths. This considers the pattern of sudden cardiac deaths.Methodology: This prospective study was conducted on all cases subjected to medico-legal autopsy in the forensic medicine department at a tertiary care hospital for a period of 18 months. All sudden cardiac deaths satisfying the WHO criteria were included. Unknown cases and bodies in advanced stage of decomposition were excluded.ResultsSudden cardiac deaths accounted for 55% (82 cases) of 149 cases of sudden natural deaths and 6.5% of total autopsies conducted. The age group most commonly affected by sudden cardiac death ranged from 31 to 50 years. The majority of the cadavers had 90–95% degree of stenosis of left anterior descending artery, 70–80% of right coronary artery and 60–70% left circumflex artery. Coronary insufficiency was the major cause for sudden cardiac deaths with a total of 53 (64.63%) cases.ConclusionSudden cardiac deaths accounted for 6.5% of all the autopsies conducted and males outnumbered females with M:F ratio of 10.7:1, with mean age of 44.5 ± 12.63 years. The largest number – 60.97% – were aged between 31 and 50 years. Coronary insufficiency accounted for 64.63% of sudden cardiac deaths.

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