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Coroner Autopsy Findings Among Children and Adolescents of Rivers State of Nigeria

Christopher Obiorah
Musa Stephen
Amakiri Charles


Background Children I adolescents face avoidable deaths in Nigeria. This 11-year retrospective study of coroner autopsies carried out on children I adolescents aged between 0-19 years, evaluated the pattern, causes and demographic features of childhood deaths in Rivers state, Nigeria.

Methods A retrospective remew of case records of decedents' gender, age, and circumstances were of death and autopsy-defined causes of death in Port Harcourt were analyzed.

Results Children I adolescents constituted 11.4% of 1,987 cases reviewed. The age range was 3 weeks to 19 years and the mean was 14.4 years. Adolescents, 15-19 years were most affected constituting 65.5% of cases. Male female ratio was 1. 7:1. Accidents with 39.8% were the commonest manner of death followed by homicides (38.5%) and sudden natural deaths (12.8%). Maternal deaths and suicides constituted 7.1% and 1.8% respectively. Accidents, mainly of the road traffic type and homicides resulting from firearm injuries are significant causes of sudden deaths among children and adolescents of Rivers state.

Conclusion Instituting measures aimed at improving care of children and adolescents, especially during out-door activities will reduce the largely preventable deaths observed among this age group.

Keywords Coroner autopsies; childhood and adolescents; accidents and homicides; Rivers State; Nigeria.