Table 1

Definition of terms for classifying deaths

Underlying cause of death (UCD)(1) The disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death or (2) The circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury. UCD can be classified as natural, accidental, homicide, suicide and undetermined.
Contributing cause of death (CCD)Other significant conditions contributing to the death, but not related to the disease or condition causing it.
Natural deathA death primarily resulting from a disease of the body or progressive fatigue of bodily systems’ A natural death does not result from injury or abnormal environmental factors.
Accidental deathA death primarily due to an event happening in an unexpected manner apart from planned human agency.