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Sudden Cardiac Death: Autopsy Findings in 7200 Cases Between 2001 and 2015

Ifteni, Petru MD, PhD; Barabas, Barna MD, PhD; Gavris, Claudia MD, PhD; Moga, Marius MD, PhD; Burtea, Victoria MD, PhD; Dracea, Laura MD, PhD

American Journal of Forensic Medicine & Pathology: March 2017 - Volume 38 - Issue 1 - p 49–53
doi: 10.1097/PAF.0000000000000274
Original Articles

Background: Sudden cardiac death (SCD) is a sudden unexpected event, from a cardiac cause, that occurs in less than 1 hour after the symptom onset in a person without any previous condition that would seem fatal or who was seen without any symptoms 24 hours before being found dead.

Objective: The aims of the study were to describe the features of SCD in Brasov County, Romania (400,000 inhabitants) according to local forensic department autopsy files.

Methods: We retrospectively chart reviewed a number of 7200 autopsy reports between 2001 and 2015 to identify cases of SCD. Data included cause of death, demographics, location of the event, prior known illnesses, as well as psychiatric comorbidities.

Results: Of 7200 autopsies effectuated during the 15-year period, we excluded 276 cases with incomplete data. The rest of the 6924 cases included 3000 autopsies (43.3%) of individuals with a violent death: accidents, suicides, and homicides. In 3924 cases (56.7%), the death was nonviolent. Of 3924 nonviolent deaths, based on the registry of Forensic department, we identified 1085 cases of SCD (749 males [69%]; mean age, 56 ± 17.4 years).

Conclusion: Sudden death with a cardiac etiology remained a major cause of unexpected end of life in the vast majority of cases autopsied during the study period.

From the *Psychiatry and Neurology Hospital; †Faculty of Medicine, Transilvania University of Brasov; ‡Brasov County Forensic Department; §Brasov County Emergency Hospital; ∥Clinical Hospital of Obstetrics and Gynecology; ¶Clinical Hospital for Children, Brasov, Romania.

Manuscript received May 30, 2016; accepted September 2, 2016.

There were no external funding sources for this study.

The authors report no conflict of interest.

The author contributions are as follows: conception and design of the research, P.I. and C.G.; acquisition of data, B.B., V.B., and P.I.; analysis and interpretation of the data, P.I., M.M., and C.G.; statistical analysis, P.I. and C.G.; writing of the manuscript, P.I., C.G., and L.D.; and critical revision of the manuscript for intellectual content, P.I. and L.D.

Reprints: Claudia Gavris, Faculty of Medicine, Transilvania University of Brasov, Brasov, Romania. E-mail: claudiagavris@yahoo.com.

© 2017 by Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.