Postgrad Med J 85:227-232 doi:10.1136/pgmj.2008.067975
  • Original article

Causes of mortality in diabetes mellitus: data from a tertiary teaching hospital in India

  1. A H Zargar,
  2. A I Wani,
  3. S R Masoodi,
  4. M I Bashir,
  5. B A Laway,
  6. V K Gupta,
  7. F A Wani
  1. Department of Endocrinology, Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar, Kashmir, India
  1. Professor A H Zargar, PO Box 1098, GPO Srinagar 190001, Kashmir, India; zargarah123{at}
  • Received 17 January 2008
  • Accepted 1 October 2008


Background: Mortality studies can show the relative contribution of diabetes to mortality in the total population, and they can provide important descriptions of the changes in causes and frequency of diabetes mortality over time.

Objective: To find the mortality pattern in people with diabetes admitted to a tertiary care hospital in a developing country, using underlying/contributory causes of death.

Methods: In this retrospective study, mortality trends among people with diabetes admitted to Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences, Srinagar, Kashmir, India were reviewed by screening the hospital records of all people with diabetes who died over the last 9 years, carrying forward earlier observations from the same centre.

Results: Of 234 776 people admitted to the centre during the review period, 16 690 (7.11%) died; 741 (383 men) of these had diabetes mellitus mentioned on the death certificate. The mean (SD) age at death for people with diabetes was 60.07 (13.62) years in men and 57.36 (13.40) years in women. The leading contributory causes of death were infections (40.9%), chronic renal failure (33.6%), coronary artery disease (16.9%), cerebrovascular disease (13.2%), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (6.9%), acute renal failure (6.2%), malignancy (4.2%), hypoglycaemia (3.5%) and diabetic ketoacidosis (3.4%). The cause of death could not be ascertained in 2.8% of cases; in 52.9%, 36.3% and 8.0% cases one, two and three or more causes, respectively, were recorded as the cause of death.

Conclusions: The aetiological spectrum of mortality in people with diabetes at this Indian centre continues to be dominated by infections and renal failure, which is different from that in the developed world, where coronary artery disease and cerebrovascular disease are the principal causes of death in people with diabetes.


  • Competing interests: None.

  • Ethics approval: Obtained.