Journal of Forensic Sciences Volume: 57 Issue: 2 Dated: March 2012 Pages: 364-369
This study compared written text on infant death certificates for deaths coded as sudden infant death syndrome (R95), unknown cause (R99), and accidental suffocation (W75).
The authors compared written text on infant death certificates for deaths coded as sudden infant death syndrome (R95), unknown cause (R99), and accidental suffocation (W75). Using U.S. mortality files supplemented with the death certifiers' written text for all infant deaths with International Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 assigned codes R95, R99, and W75, the authors formed cause-of-death subcategories from common themes identified from the written text. Among all infant deaths in 2003-2004, the underlying cause of death was listed as R99 for 2,128 deaths, R95 for 4,408 deaths, and W75 for 931 deaths. Among the postneonatal deaths, the differences in subcategories varied between assigned ICD-10 codes: for R99-coded deaths, 45.8 percent were categorized as "Unknown" and 48.6 percent as "Pending"; for R95-coded deaths, 67.7 percent were categorized as "sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS)"; and for W75-coded deaths, 76.4 percent were categorized as "Suffocation." Examination of the written text on the death certificates demonstrates variability in the assigned ICD-10 codes which could have an important effect on the estimates of SIDS cases in the United States. Abstract published by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons.
United States of America