n CME : Your SA Journal of CPD - Sudden unexplained death in adults - an approach : main article

Volume 24, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2170



Sudden unexpected death (SUD) in adults has a great impact on society and the medical fraternity. <BR>WHO defines SUD as death within 24 hours of the onset of symptoms. Mason defines sudden death as 'unexpected death following so rapidly from the onset of symptoms that the cause of death could not be certified with confidence by a medical practitioner familiar with the patient' - a definition perhaps more suited to forensic practice. <BR>True SUDs are seen as unnatural deaths, and a medicolegal autopsy under the auspices of the inquests Act is indicated in these cases. <BR>The most commonly used classification system lists the causes for sudden death according to the organ system or anatomical locale in which they occur. <BR>Autopsies on SUD cases can be extremely challenging. Only with continued personal development and attention to detail during the autopsy will the forensic practitioner hone the skills necessary to make the correct diagnosis in cases of SUD.

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