Deaths after chiropractic: a review of published cases


  • Disclosures None.

E. Ernst, Complementary Medicine, Peninsula Medical School, University of Exeter, 25 Victoria Park Road, Exeter EX2 4NT, UK
Tel.: + 44 1392 424989
Fax: + 44 1392 427562


Objective:  The aim of this study was to summarise all cases in which chiropractic spinal manipulation was followed by death.

Design:  This study is a systematic review of case reports.

Methods:  Literature searches in four electronic databases with no restrictions of time or language.

Main outcome measure:  Death.

Results:  Twenty six fatalities were published in the medical literature and many more might have remained unpublished. The alleged pathology usually was a vascular accident involving the dissection of a vertebral artery.

Conclusion:  Numerous deaths have occurred after chiropractic manipulations. The risks of this treatment by far outweigh its benefit.