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J Emerg Trauma Shock. 2019 Oct-Dec;12(4):263-267. doi: 10.4103/JETS.JETS_147_18. Epub 2019 Nov 18.

Last Breath in the Emergency Department.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Christian Medical College, Vellore, Tamil Nadu, India.



Early and aggressive time to intervention has been shown to increase the odds of survival and decrease mortality in critically ill patients. Since emergency medicine is a nascent specialty in India, a review and assessment of the mortality profile in the Emergency Department (ED) would help improve the quality of care.


The aim of the study is to determine the mortality profile and causes of preventable deaths at large ED in South India.


This retrospective chart review was conducted between January and December 2017. Patients admitted with Triage priority 1 and priority 2 of our ED, who died, despite treatment, were recruited in the study. Two ED consultants blinded from each other, independently audited all the charts to determine preventable and nonpreventable causes of death.


There were a total of 69,369 patients during the study period who presented to the ED. Despite resuscitation 189 (0.7%) died, the mortality rate was 2.43%. Cardiac-related (32%) and sepsis-related (31%) causes were the most common cause of death, 23.8% were due to preventable causes and 16.9% of which were due to inappropriate management. In patients with sepsis, the odds of death due to preventable causes were significantly high (odds ratio 4.31, 95% confidence intervals: 1.96-9.47; P < 0.001).


Cardiac- and sepsis-related causes of death, together accounted for most of the mortality. In patients with sepsis, the odds of death due to preventable causes were more than four times higher than those without preventable causes.


Emergency department; mortality profile; sepsis

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