Major haemorrhage fatalities in the Australian national coronial database.

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE

The aim of the study is to describe the epidemiology of major bleeding fatalities.

METHODS

A case series analysis of Australia's National Coronial Information System was conducted. Keywords were used to search for closed cases of major haemorrhage in the state of Victoria for the period 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011. Coroners' findings, autopsy reports and police reports of cases were reviewed. Demographic data were extracted, and cases were assigned to a clinical bleeding context.

RESULTS

A total of 427 cases of major bleeding causing death were identified. The cohort was predominately men (69%), with a median age of 63 years (interquartile range 45-77 years). Trauma accounted for 38%, gastrointestinal haemorrhage 28%, surgical/procedural bleeding 14%, ruptured/leaking aneurysms 12% and other 8%. Most events began in homes (46%), hospitals (22%) and at the roadside (17%). Of those whose haemorrhage began in the community, 69% did not survive to hospital.

CONCLUSIONS

Major bleeding fatalities occurred across a diverse range of contexts, with trauma and gastrointestinal bleeding accounting for most deaths. The majority of patients did not survive to reach hospital. Major haemorrhage occurring entirely outside hospital may be underrecognised from analyses of datasets based primarily on traumatic or in-hospital bleeding. These findings have implications for management of pre-hospital resuscitation and development of clinical practice guidelines for identification and management of major bleeding in the community.

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