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Determinants for autopsy after unexplained deaths possibly resulting from infectious causes, United States.
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MedLine Citation:
PMID:  22469466     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
We analyzed US multiple cause-of-death data for 2003-2006 for demographic and clinical determinants for autopsy in unexplained deaths possibly resulting from infectious causes. For 96,242 deaths, the definition for unexplained death was met and autopsy status was recorded. Most decedents were male, 40-49 years of age, and white. To identify factors associated with unexplained death, we used data from Arizona records. Multivariate analysis of Arizona records suggested that decedents of races other than white and black and decedents who had clinicopathologic syndromes in the cardiovascular, sepsis/shock, and multisyndrome categories recorded on the death certificate were least likely to have undergone autopsy; children with unexplained death were the most likely to have undergone autopsy. Improved understanding of unexplained deaths can provide opportunities for further studies, strengthen collaboration between investigators of unexplained deaths, and improve knowledge and awareness of infectious diseases of public health concern.
Lindy Liu; Laura L Sinden; Robert C Holman; Dianna M Blau
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Emerging infectious diseases     Volume:  18     ISSN:  1080-6059     ISO Abbreviation:  Emerging Infect. Dis.     Publication Date:  2012 Apr 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2012-04-03     Completed Date:  2012-07-25     Revised Date:  2013-06-26    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9508155     Medline TA:  Emerg Infect Dis     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  549-55     Citation Subset:  IM    
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Arizona / epidemiology
Autopsy / statistics & numerical data*
Cause of Death*
Child, Preschool
Communicable Diseases / mortality*
Logistic Models
Middle Aged
Multivariate Analysis
Odds Ratio
Young Adult

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

Full Text
Journal Information
Journal ID (nlm-ta): Emerg Infect Dis
Journal ID (iso-abbrev): Emerging Infect. Dis
Journal ID (publisher-id): EID
ISSN: 1080-6040
ISSN: 1080-6059
Publisher: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Article Information

Print publication date: Month: 4 Year: 2012
Volume: 18 Issue: 4
First Page: 549 Last Page: 555
PubMed Id: 22469466
ID: 3309683
Publisher Id: 11-1311
DOI: 10.3201/eid1804.111311

Determinants for Autopsy after Unexplained Deaths Possibly Resulting from Infectious Causes, United States Alternate Title:Autopsy after Unexplained Deaths
Lindy Liu
Laura S. Callinan
Robert C. Holman
Dianna M. Blau
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Correspondence: Address for correspondence: Lindy Liu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, Mailstop G32, Atlanta, GA 30333, USA; email:

Medscape CME Activity

Medscape, LLC is pleased to provide online continuing medical education (CME) for this journal article, allowing clinicians the opportunity to earn CME credit.

This activity has been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education through the joint sponsorship of Medscape, LLC and Emerging Infectious Diseases. Medscape, LLC is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.

Medscape, LLC designates this Journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s)TM. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity.

All other clinicians completing this activity will be issued a certificate of participation. To participate in this journal CME activity: (1) review the learning objectives and author disclosures; (2) study the education content; (3) take the post-test with a 70% minimum passing score and complete the evaluation at; (4) view/print certificate.

Release date: March 15, 2012; Expiration date: March 15, 2013

Learning Objectives

Upon completion of this activity, participants will be able to:

  • Assess characteristics of cases of unexplained deaths possibly resulting from infectious causes
  • Distinguish the age group most likely to receive an autopsy after unexplained death
  • Evaluate other variables associated with a higher likelihood of receiving an autopsy after unexplained death

CME Editor

Karen L. Foster, Technical Writer/Editor, Emerging Infectious Diseases. Disclosure: Karen L. Foster has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.

CME Author

Charles P. Vega, MD, Health Sciences Clinical Professor; Residency Director, Department of Family Medicine, University of California, Irvine. Disclosure: Charles P. Vega, MD, has disclosed no relevant financial relationships.


Disclosures: Lindy Liu, MPH; Laura S. Callinan; Robert C. Holman, MS; and Dianna M. Blau, DVM, PhD, have disclosed no relevant financial relationships.


Suggested citation for this article: Liu L, Callinan LS, Holman RC, Blau DM. Determinants for autopsy after unexplained deaths possibly resulting from infectious causes, United States. Emerg Infect Dis [serial on the Internet]. 2012 Apr [date cited].

Article Categories:
  • CME
Article Categories:
  • Research
Article Categories:
  • Research

Keywords: Keywords: coroners and medical examiners, autopsy, communicable diseases, epidemiology, United States, bacteria, viruses.

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