oa Southern African Journal of Infectious Diseases - Causes of death in patients treated at a tertiary hospital in the Limpopo province : a retrospective study from 2008-2010 : original research

Volume 29, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 2312-0053



The aim of this study was to determine mortality rates and identify associated causes at a tertiary hospital situated in the Limpopo province of South Africa. Death notification forms from Pietersburg Mankweng Hospital Complex were retrieved and reviewed for the period 1 January 2008-31 December 2010 in this cross-sectional study. Data were collected using a data collection form designed for the study. There were 5 232 deaths, on which there was complete information for 5 147, which was then analysed. The average death rate was 6.8 deaths per 1 000 patients, based on the number of patients admitted during the study period. The age of the deceased ranged from 15-104 years, with a mean of 49.1 ± 18.6 years. While only 2.4% of deaths occurred in teenagers, over two thirds occurred in people aged 20-59 years. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), cancer, cardiovascular disease, trauma and tuberculosis were the top five most common causes of death, and were responsible for 61.2% of all recorded deaths. Trauma was the most common cause of death in teenagers, and HIV/AIDS the most common cause in young adults and adults. Cardiovascular disease was the main cause of death in the elderly. Overall, the triple burden of infectious diseases, noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) and injury remain the leading causes of death in patients at the study site. Innovative injury prevention strategies and interventions to control the spread of infectious diseases are urgently required. Cancer screening services and culturally appropriate lifestyle programmes are needed to address NCDs.

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