ISSN : 2146-3123
E-ISSN : 2146-3131

The Accuracy of Death Certificates Given at Kocaeli University Hospital
Nilay Etiler 1, Başar Çolak 2, İlkgün Demirbaş 2
1Kocaeli Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Halk Sağlığı Anabilim Dalı, Kocaeli
2Kocaeli Üniversitesi Tıp Fakültesi Adli Tıp Anabilim Dalı, Kocaeli
Pages : 93-101


Objectives: Registries for the causes of death constitute one of the basic components of health system in all countries. The reliability of the notified causes of death appears to be a common problem. In this study, we compared the information on death certificates routinely sent from the Kocaeli University Hospital to the State Statistics Institute (SSI) with that found on patient records.

Study Design: A retrospective review was made on patient records and death certificates sent to the SSI in 2002 and 2003. The causes of death were classified as principal, contributing, and immediate causes according to the WHO criteria. Diagnoses were defined according to the ICD-10 list.

Results: Of 744 deaths, records of 665 cases were present in both sources. Certificates of 211 cases (31.7%) included the correct principal death cause, while in 162 cases (24.4%) the deaths were attributed to other disease/conditions such as cardiorespiratory arrest, and in 112 cases, (16.8%), to an immediate cause. An irrelevant cause was found in 105 (15.8%) certificates. We detected a number of mistakes in 210 certificates, the most common being the use of inappropriate abbreviation (59.0%) and disease terms not available in the disease list (34.3%).

Conclusion: The accuracy of death certificates may be improved with training programs among physicians. Furthermore, postmortem autopsy examinations are very important to determine the exact cause of death.

Keywords : Cause of death; death certificates/statistical and numerical data; hospitals; nomenclature; registries
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