Document Detail

Preventing deaths in the Canadian military.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20171536     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
BACKGROUND: Combat fatalities are reported by the media as a frequent cause of military deaths, yet they may not reflect the most common and preventable ways that soldiers die. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to quantify the leading causes of death in the military and to identify modifiable behaviors that potentially contributed to death. METHODS: This was a retrospective chart review of all Canadian Forces members who died during the past quarter century (January 1, 1983, to December 31, 2007) and included autopsy reports, death certificates, coroner reports, hospital records, military reports, and other miscellaneous sources. Underlying cause of death and modifiable behaviors potentially contributing to death were determined. RESULTS: A total of 1889 individuals died during the study period, and a cause of death was identified for 1710 cases (91%). Traumatic injuries caused 57% of deaths, and medical disease was responsible for 43%. The four leading specific causes of death were motor-vehicle crashes (384 deaths, 22%); neoplasms (374 deaths, 22%); suicide (289 deaths, 17%); and cardiovascular disease (285 deaths, 17%). Combat deaths accounted for less than 5% of all deaths (70 deaths). Approximately 35% of all deaths were attributable to potentially modifiable behaviors, which included suicide (219 non-alcohol-related deaths, 13%); smoking (159 deaths, 9%); and alcohol use (186 deaths, 11%). CONCLUSIONS: Public attention focuses on combat fatalities, yet most military members die from other causes. Avoiding future deaths requires targeting suicide, smoking, and alcohol consumption, in addition to trauma care for combat injuries.
Homer C N Tien; Sanjay Acharya; Donald A Redelmeier
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  American journal of preventive medicine     Volume:  38     ISSN:  1873-2607     ISO Abbreviation:  Am J Prev Med     Publication Date:  2010 Mar 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-02-22     Completed Date:  2010-05-11     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  8704773     Medline TA:  Am J Prev Med     Country:  Netherlands    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  331-9     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright (c) 2010 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. All rights reserved.
Department of Surgery, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, University of Toronto, 2075 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
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MeSH Terms
Accidents, Traffic / mortality
Alcohol-Related Disorders / mortality
Cause of Death*
Health Behavior
Military Personnel / statistics & numerical data*
Retrospective Studies
Smoking / mortality
Suicide / statistics & numerical data
Wounds and Injuries / mortality*

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

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