Medical records as screening tools for child death review in Japan

Atsushi Numaguchi, Akira Ishii, Jun Natsume, Shinji Saitoh, Yasuhiro Aoki, Tetsushi Yoshikawa, Ichiro Isobe, Akihisa Okumura, Hiroshi Seno, Yoshiyuki Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Although many child death review (CDR) systems have been developed in Japan, the optimal system is still being identified. The aim of this study is to identify the etiologies of child deaths and to propose a screening method for initiating the CDR process in Japan. Methods: Clinical medical records (CMRs) in hospitals and autopsy records were surveyed for cases of deaths of children aged less than 15 years between 2014 and 2016 in Aichi Prefecture, Japan. The data were analyzed in three steps, and the findings were compared with the vital statistics. Results: Of the 695 children whose death certificates were submitted to Aichi Prefecture, 590 could be traced to pediatric care hospitals. The distribution of causes of death was slightly different from the vital statistics, with 11.5% dying of extrinsic causes and 19.7% dying of unknown causes. Maltreatment was suspected in 64 cases, which was much higher than that in government statistics. Overall, 158 (26.8%) deaths were considered preventable. The number of unnatural deaths, which might be screened in, was calculated as 172 (29.2%) in the vital statistics, whereas the survey of CMRs revealed that 241 (40.8%) to 282 (47.8%) should be screened in. Conclusions: Surveying CMRs in hospitals may be a suitable method to detect and screen deaths to start the CDR process in Japan.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere15692
JournalPediatrics International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 01-01-2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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