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Validation of physician certified verbal autopsy using conventional autopsy: a large study of adult non-external causes of death in a metropolitan area in Brazil

Reliable mortality data are essential for the development of public health policies. In Brazil, although there is a well-consolidated universal system for mortality data, the quality of information on causes of death is not even across Brazilian regions, with a high proportion of ill-defined causes of death. Verbal autopsy is an alternative to improve mortality data. This study evaluated the performance of an adapted and reduced version of verbal autopsy in identifying the underlying causes of non-forensic deaths in São Paulo, Brazil. This is the first time that a version of the questionnaire has been validated considering the autopsy as the gold standard.