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Medical causes of death in a teaching hospital in South-Eastern Nigeria: A 16 year review.


Most developing regions of the world are undergoing gradual epidemiological transition resulting in high burden of both communicable and noncommunicable diseases. This affects the pattern of death in this region.The objective of this study is to determine the causes of death in the medical wards of the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, South-East Nigeria from 1995 to 2010.Data were collected retrospectively from January 1995 to December 2010.Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL, USA) version 17.0 was used. Simple descriptive statistics were done. Student's t-test was used to compare means of continuous variables, while Chi-square test was used to test significance of differences between two proportions.The mortality rate was 22.8% (6250/27,514) admissions. The male to female ratio was 1.7:1. Infections (20.2%) were the most common cause of death. However, chronic kidney disease was the single most common disease entity causing death (12.3%). Other important causes of death in order of prevalence were cerebrovascular accident (10.5%), acquired immune deficiency syndrome and tuberculosis either alone or as co-infection (10.3%), heart failure (8.8%), chronic liver disease (7.0%), septicemia (6.5%), respiratory failure (5.3%), diabetes mellitus (4.6%), cardiac arrhythmias (2.9%), and primary liver cell carcinoma (2.7%). There were few deaths from tetanus, malaria, typhoid fever, and coronary artery disease.Mortality is high in our medical wards and reflects the emerging trend of mixed disease spectrum comprising communicable and noncommunicable diseases.