A Study of Autopsy Cases of Sudden Death

Background: Sudden death is defined by WHO as “Deaths within 24 hours from the onset of the symptoms.” Sudden death is a traumatic event for the family, it has huge social and psychological consequences and is also a major contributor to years of life lost among the young. The causes of sudden death differ greatly among various age groups and it includes cardiovascular causes, pulmonary causes like thromboembolism, anaphylaxis, severe pneumonia, other causes like intracranial haemorrhage, gastrointestinal causes etc.

Aim: To study and classify the underlying causes of sudden death.

Materials and Method: A review of autopsy cases of sudden death was performed between August 2023 to December 2023 at the department of pathology, SMIMER medical college, Surat. Out of 210 total autopsy cases received during that period, 50 cases(23.8%) were studied for sudden deaths. Specimens were fixed in 10% formalin for fixation, grossing was done and representative sections were taken. Tissue processing was done according to standard protocol, routine Haematoxylin and Eosin staining was done and special stain was done whenever required.

Results: Out of 210 total autopsy cases received from August 2023 to December 2023, 50 cases(23.8%) were studied for  sudden deaths. The age group with most cases of sudden death was 45 – 59 years. Males(88%) were affected more than female (12%)with male to female ratio of 7.3:1. The most common cause of sudden death comprised of cardiac causes(60%),in which CAD consists of 54% followed by myocarditis-04% and Cardiomyopathy- 02%, while deaths by respiratory causes(6%) comprises of deaths due to pneumonia(4%) and Tuberculosis of lung (2%),other systemic causes(4%) consists of cirrhosis of liver (hepatobiliary system-2%) and leukemia(Hematopoietic system-2%).

Conclusion: Meticulous autopsy and proper histopathological examination play an important role to find out the cause of sudden death.The most common cause of sudden death is attributed to cardiac causes. This study makes us aware about the serious health issues faced by our society.