Early neonatal sudden unexpected unexplained deaths (for which we use the term ENSUD) have not been subject to detailed study. The authors investigated the incidence from 1983 to 2007 in the population of the North East of England and North Cumbria. The authors found 30 cases of unexplained ENSUD, giving an overall rate of 0.35/10 000 live births, with no significant change in incidence over this time, and they identified a further 19 deaths of abandoned babies. The authors conclude that unexplained ENSUD is even more rare than has been appreciated and its incidence has not been altered by the considerable changes in maternity care over the last 25 years.
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Competing interests None.
Ethics approval The perinatal mortality survey database was set up with ethics consent from the Ethics Committee of the Northern Regional Health Authority.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.