Sudden death phenomenon while bathing in Japan: Mortality data

Masaru Suzuki, Takuro Shimbo, Toshiharu Ikaga, Shingo Hori

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Bath-related sudden cardiac arrest frequently occurs in Japan, but the mortality data have not been sufficiently reported. Methods and Results: This prospective cross-sectional observational study was conducted in the Tokyo Metropolis, Saga Prefecture and Yamagata Prefecture between October 2012 and March 2013 (i.e., in winter). We investigated the data for all occurrences in these areas for which the emergency medical system needed to be activated because of an accident or acute illness related to bathing. Emergency personnel enrolled the event when activation of the emergency medical system was related to bathing. Of the 4,599 registered bath-related events, 1,527 (33%) were identified as bath-related cardiac arrest events. Crude mortality (no. deaths per 100,000) during the observational period was 10.0 in Tokyo, 11.6 in Yamagata and 8.5 in Saga. According to the mortality data for age and sex, the estimated number of bath-related deaths nationwide was 13,369 in winter, for the 6 months from October (95% CI: 10,862–16,887). Most cardiac arrest events occurred in tubs filled with water with the face submerged in the water. This suggests that drowning plays a crucial role in the etiology of such phenomena. Conclusions: The estimated nationwide number of deaths was 13,369 (95% CI: 10,862–16,887) in winter, for the 6 months from October. Crude mortality during the winter season was 10.0 in Tokyo, 11.6 in Yamagata and 8.5 in Saga.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1144-1149
Number of pages6
JournalCirculation Journal
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Aging
  • Bathing
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Epidemiology
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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