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Medicina Legal de Costa Rica

On-line version ISSN 2215-5287Print version ISSN 1409-0015


VARGAS SANABRIA, Maikel; VEGA CHAVES, Juan Carlos; MONTERO SOLANO, Gustavo  and  HERNANDEZ ROMERO, Gabriel. Suicidio en adultos mayores en Costa Rica durante el período 2010-2014. Med. leg. Costa Rica [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.1, pp.2-25. ISSN 2215-5287.

The over-65 population is a vulnerable group to committing suicide, with a risk 1.5 times higher compared to younger individuals.

The aging process and the associated changes challenge the elderly, where failure to adapt predisposes to suicidal behaviors.

These are more likely to be lethal in comparison to any other age group. There is few research related to the epidemiologic characteristics associated to this event. This article focuses on describing the main risk factors for suicide in the elderly by performing an epidemiologic retrospective review of all the legal medical records of the deaths declared as suicide in Costa Rica, of adults older than 65 years old, between January 1st of 2010 and December 31st of 2014. A total of 111 legal medical records were reviewed, in which most of the victims were male, retired, single, costarrican individuals. San José was the province were most cases occurred, most of them occurring on Sunday and Friday. The main death mechanisms were death by hanging and firearm suicide. From the group linked with drug abuse, benzodiazepines, opiates and benzodiazepines together with opiates were the most prevalent drug groups on the toxicology reports. Other variables, such as illness history, blood alcohol levels, previous attempt, associated stressful event and reported suicide letter were also analized.

Keywords : Elderly; suicide; legal medical record; risk factor; aging; epidemiology.

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