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Causes of Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood: Autopsy Findings from a Specialist Centre

Bryant, Victoria A; Jacques, Tom S; Sebire, Neil J; (2022) Causes of Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood: Autopsy Findings from a Specialist Centre. Pediatric and Developmental Pathology 10.1177/10935266221099787. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

OBJECTIVES: To investigate the aetiologies of sudden unexpected death from natural causes in children aged 1-18 years by retrospective examination of autopsy records from a single centre. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The post-mortem findings from 548 children (1996-2015) were examined. Details were entered into an established research database and categorized according to >400 pre-defined criteria. RESULTS: There were 265 previously apparently healthy children and 283 with pre-existing, potentially life-limiting, conditions. There were more males than females (M:F 1.4:1), and deaths were more frequent in the winter. Infection was commonest accounting for 43% of all deaths. Non-infectious diseases were identified as cause of death in 28%, and 29% of all deaths were unexplained. There was no significant difference in the proportions of deaths in each category between the previously healthy children and those with pre-existing conditions. CONCLUSION: Sudden unexpected death is a rare presentation of death in childhood and those with pre-existing conditions may be more at risk. Standardisation of the post-mortem procedure in such cases may result in more ancillary investigations performed as routine and may reduce the number of cases that are 'unexplained'.

Type: Article
Title: Causes of Sudden Unexpected Death in Childhood: Autopsy Findings from a Specialist Centre
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1177/10935266221099787
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1177/10935266221099787
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: autopsy, post-mortem, pre-existing conditions, sudden unexpected death, unexplained
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Population, Policy and Practice Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Biology and Cancer Dept
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10150434
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