Mehtap GURGER1, Abdurrahim TURKOGLU2, Metin ATESCELIK1, Turgay BORK2, Mehmet TOKDEMIR2, Omer Dogan ALATAS3, Evren EKINGEN3

1Department of Emergency, Fırat University Faculty of Medicine, Elazig
2Department of Forensic Medicine, Fırat University Faculty of Medicine, Elazig
3Department of Emergency Service, Elazıg Training and Research Hospital, Elazig

Keywords: Autopsy; emergency service; sudden death



Sudden deaths occur within 24 hours after symptoms' onset and are caused by cardiac, neurological and pulmonary diseases. Autopsy is the gold standard in determining cause of death. In this study, death's etiology was evaluated in cases applied to our department that underwent autopsy with sudden death indication.


This study included cases aged 18 or older with sudden, suspected, non-traumatic death applying to our department between 2008 and 2012. Patients' age, sex, death time, co-morbid diseases, initial signs, cardiac rhythm, and autopsy findings were recorded after reviewing patient charts.


The study included 46 patients. Mean age was 45.73±19.6. Of the cases, 84.78% applied to emergency with cardiopulmonary arrest. Thirty-two cases (69.6%) were male. The most frequent cause of death was cardiovascular diseases (52.2%), followed by central nervous system disorders (21.7%), intoxications (15.2%), and respiratory diseases (10.9%). The most common diseases were myocardial infarction (45.7%), subarachnoid hemorrhage (8.7%), and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. There were three drug ingestions, three carbon monoxide intoxications, and one corrosive material ingestion among the intoxication cases.


Sudden deaths are rarely encountered. Emergency clinicians should consider cause in differential diagnosis and provide appropriate approaches at first evaluation.