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Spontaneous Subarachnoid Haemorrhage as a Cause of Out-of-Hospital Death

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BACKGROUND: There are no recent studies on the incidence rate of out-of-hospital death due to spontaneous subarachnoid haemorrhage (SAH). The primary aim of this study was to determine how often SAH was the cause of out-of-hospital death. The secondary aim was to determine if decedents had contacted any health care services within the last 72 h prior to the time of death.

METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study. The reports of all autopsies carried out at the Department of Forensic Medicine in the Capital Region of Denmark in a ten-year period were read. Police records and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) telephone records were searched for health care contacts within the last 72 h prior to the time of death. Descriptive statistics were used, and to analyse the incidence rates for trend Poisson regression was used.

RESULTS: In total, 6,903 decedents underwent autopsy. Out-of-hospital SAH was the cause of death in 58 decedents, resulting in an average incidence rate of 0.34 per 100.000 persons per year. No significant change in the incidence rate over time was found (p = 0.52). No EMS data were available for eleven decedents in the first part of the study period. Of the remaining 47 decedents, 2 (3.5%, 95% CI: 0.4-11.9) had called the EMS, and in regards to 27 of the 58 decedents, the police records contained information on health care system contacts. Five (8.6%, 95% CI: 2.9-18.9) patients had contacted a general practitioner and three (5.2%, 95% CI: 1.1-14.4) patients had been admitted to hospital but were discharged again within 72 h prior to their death.

CONCLUSION: The incidence rate of out-of-hospital death from SAH was 0.34 per 100.000 persons per year and remained stable across the years 2009-2018. Several patients had sought medical attention shortly before their death, emphasizing the vital importance of recognizing the early symptoms of SAH.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105239
JournalJournal of stroke and cerebrovascular diseases : the official journal of National Stroke Association
Volume29
Issue number11
Pages (from-to)105239
ISSN1052-3057
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020

    Research areas

  • Emergency Medical Service, out-of-hospital death, Subarachnoid haemorrhage, sudden death

ID: 61082303