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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 18-26

Sudden Natural Deaths in Ontario, Canada: A Retrospective Autopsy Analysis (2012–2016)

1 Ontario Forensic Pathology Service; Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathobiology, University of Toronto, Toronto, Canada
2 Department of Anthropology (Forensic Science), University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada

Correspondence Address:
Jayantha C Herath
Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, University of Toronto, 25 Morton Shulman Avenue, Toronto, ON M3M 0B1
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfsm.jfsm_50_19

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This study was performed to identify the categories and distribution of sudden natural deaths (SNDs) in Ontario (ON) from January 2012 to December 2016 as no such reports have been published in ON, and the authors sought to find out the distribution of SND across ON by organ system, age, and sex. Three medicolegal databases were searched, and eight major categories of SND were identified and evaluated using multinomial logistic regression. During the 5-year period, 10,880 autopsies were performed on individuals aged 1–100, who died of sudden and natural causes. Over 800 causes of SNDs were recorded from January 2012 to December 2016. The largest category of SND was attributed to diseases and complications of the cardiovascular system (64.1%) followed by the respiratory system (9.1%), gastrointestinal system (6.9%), central nervous system (6.0%), metabolic diseases (3.8%), chronic alcoholism (3.5%), other (2.4%), infectious diseases (2.2%), and cancer (1.8%). The five most common causes of SND were also cardiovascular in origin, which included atherosclerotic heart disease (n = 2127, 19.5%), atherosclerotic and hypertensive heart disease (n = 711, 6.5%), myocardial infarction (n = 723, 6.6%), hypertensive heart disease (n = 518, 4.8%), and pulmonary embolism (n = 377, 3.5%). Determination of cause of death in natural deaths is an important part in death investigation, which can provide crucial information in the interest of public health by identifying public health risks and monitoring disease trends.

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