Causes of mortality among the elderly in a Nigerian hospital population

  • AC Onwuchekwa
  • GE Asekomeh
Keywords: Mortality, elderly Nigerian, Hospital

Abstract

Background: In developing countries, increased life expectancy has led to a higher burden of cardiovascular diseases among the elderly.
Aim: To determine the causes of mortality in patients aged >60 years, admitted in the medical wards of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching
Hospital (UPTH).
Methods: The medical records of all patients aged 60 years and above admitted in the medical wards of UPTH from June 2002 to May 2006
were reviewed.
Results: A total of 300 deaths occurred in the elderly during the period. Diseases of the cardiovascular system were responsible for 149 (49.6%)
deaths, with stroke alone accounting for 112(75.2%) of cardiovascular deaths. Infections were responsible for 48 (16%) deaths. Type 2 diabetes
mellitus was responsible for 34 (11.3%) deaths while malignancies were responsible for 19 (6.3%) deaths. The interval between admission and
death range between 1 to 55 days.
Conclusion: Cardiovascular diseases are emerging as the leading cause of death in the elderly in developing countries improvement in health
education, early diagnosis, improved medical facilities for intervention and good dietary habits are suggested ways of reducing the death burden
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eISSN: 1119-0388