Anaesthesia-related death is one of the most complex events to be studied in forensic pathology because of its rarity and its doubtful presentation. Particularly, the difficulties in assessing the cause of deaths in such circumstances are underlined. A scale must be considered in order to determine the causal role of anaesthesia in the process leading to death. Indeed, beyond deaths exclusively explained by anaesthetic care, there are deaths that are not anaesthesia-related and deaths explained by surgery and co-morbidities in which the role of anaesthetic care has to be carefully investigated. A retrospective analysis of 3138 autopsies is presented with the aim of better understanding the patho-physiological process of anaesthesia-related mortality and to determine the causal role of anaesthesiological care in the process leading to death, thus assessing the real incidence of deaths due to anaesthesia (0.16%). In the present study, the number of deaths generically anaesthesia-related (33 cases) accounts for 2.06% of autopsies due to medical malpractice claims and 1.05% of all autopsies. The number of deaths totally related to anaesthesic care is rather low with 0.32% of autopsies due to medical malpractice claims and 0.16% of all autopsies. Anaesthesia-related deaths were due to lack of or delay in intubation (2 cases), acute cardio-respiratory failure (2 cases) and anaesthetic-induced hepatotoxicity (1 case). The importance of a careful forensic investigation (clinical and familial history, medical records, complete autopsy and toxicology), which can lead to a clear understanding of anaesthesia-related deaths, is also stressed.

Retrospective analysis of anaesthesia-related deaths during a 12-year period: looking at the data from a forensic point of view.

NERI, Margherita;
2012

Abstract

Anaesthesia-related death is one of the most complex events to be studied in forensic pathology because of its rarity and its doubtful presentation. Particularly, the difficulties in assessing the cause of deaths in such circumstances are underlined. A scale must be considered in order to determine the causal role of anaesthesia in the process leading to death. Indeed, beyond deaths exclusively explained by anaesthetic care, there are deaths that are not anaesthesia-related and deaths explained by surgery and co-morbidities in which the role of anaesthetic care has to be carefully investigated. A retrospective analysis of 3138 autopsies is presented with the aim of better understanding the patho-physiological process of anaesthesia-related mortality and to determine the causal role of anaesthesiological care in the process leading to death, thus assessing the real incidence of deaths due to anaesthesia (0.16%). In the present study, the number of deaths generically anaesthesia-related (33 cases) accounts for 2.06% of autopsies due to medical malpractice claims and 1.05% of all autopsies. The number of deaths totally related to anaesthesic care is rather low with 0.32% of autopsies due to medical malpractice claims and 0.16% of all autopsies. Anaesthesia-related deaths were due to lack of or delay in intubation (2 cases), acute cardio-respiratory failure (2 cases) and anaesthetic-induced hepatotoxicity (1 case). The importance of a careful forensic investigation (clinical and familial history, medical records, complete autopsy and toxicology), which can lead to a clear understanding of anaesthesia-related deaths, is also stressed.
Turillazzi, E; Bello, S; Bonsignore, A; Neri, Margherita; Riezzo, I; Fineschi, V.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11392/2357087
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