For healthcare professionals only

Research Article

Which patients are likely to die in an accident and emergency department?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 289 doi: (Published 18 August 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;289:419
  1. M J Shalley,
  2. A B Cross


    Four hundred and eighty-eight deaths occurring in an accident and emergency department over five years were analysed. Their causes were categorised as medical, surgical, or traumatic. Medical causes accounted for 87% of the deaths, of which 60% were from cardiac conditions. Blood loss was an important factor in over half the deaths from surgical and traumatic causes. Lives might have been saved by considering infectious disease in patients with medical conditions and by undertaking more rapid blood transfusion, earlier chest drainage, and lateral cervical spine x rays in appropriate surgical or traumatic cases. The admission to casualty departments of people with terminal neoplasms should be discouraged. The management of medical emergencies should be emphasised when training accident and emergency department staff.