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The application of verbal and social autopsy to qualitatively evaluate the heart attack mortality in the city of Pforzheim

Principal investigator: Ulrike Jost, doctoral student

Supervision: Aurélia Souares, Till Bärnighausen

Gesundheitsamt Pforzheim-Enzkreis, Germany

Project description:
The city of Pforzheim shows an increased heart attack mortality compared to other cities or districts in Baden-Württemberg, in the last decades. Even an age standardized view on mortality rates does reveal a higher mortality. Verbal and social autopsy is an established interview tool used in development countries to assess circumstances of death. Therefore, we apply his method in Pforzheim to assess causes of the increased heart attack mortality there.

Primarily, we retrospectively analyze death certificates in Pforzheim as well as of the Enzkreis district to compare social indicators. These are offered by the statistical office of the city and district. Furthermore, we assess indicators revealed by the death certificate, such as place of death or comorbidities.

Verbal and social autopsy is then applied to specifically selected family members. In addition, we also interview medical staff working in the city of Pforzheim. SPSS is used for quantitative and Nvivo for qualitative analysis.

The aim of this study is to detect different influencing factors, which lead to an increased heart attack mortality rate in the city of Pforzheim.


Ulrike Jost (ulrike.jost(at)stud.uni-heidelberg.de)

Aurélia Souares (souares(at)uni-heidelberg.de)