Vol. 5, Issue 12 (2019)
Prevalence of undocumented cardiovascular disease in male and female cadaveric donors
Author(s): Crystal D Passburg, Danielle M Mitchell, Dr. Paul M Miller
Abstract: Current mortality statistics reveal that cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death worldwide, contributing to 1 out of every 3 deaths. Most diagnoses are based on medical history, but autopsy is the gold standard in identifying the precise cause of death and contributing factors. However, in the USA, the current autopsy rate is only 8%, suggesting that many individuals thought to be unaffected by CVD may possess cardiovascular risk factors contributing to their cause of death. Medical record examination of 41 cadaveric donors revealed that 49% possessed at least one form of CVD. In contrast, gross examination revealed mild to severe CVD in 98% of donors, with a higher prevalence of undocumented CVD detected in female donors. These results suggest that an abundance of CVD remains undetected in the absence of conventional autopsy, indicating that the prevalence of CVD may be much higher than what is commonly accepted.