I'm not sure this is technically the correct place to ask this question, but I know I need medical expertise so hear I am. I have been researching my family genealogy recently and, of special interest to me is their causes of death. I have been documenting all of the ones I have found. The one for which I am asking help is that of my great grandfather Philip Terrance Doherty. I have no difficulty reading most of the death certificate, and I can easily Google the conditions to find out what they are, but there is one small part that I believe I may be misreading. To me, it looks like "ASDH and serialized A. S." But I am not having luck here.

When I look up "ASDH", I get "Acute SubDural Hematoma", which I think makes sense. I mean, he had Chronic Brain Disease and Parkinson's Disease, so why not throw in a blood clot in the brain? When I put in "A. S. medical condition", I get Ankylosing Spondylitis, which also seems like a neurological condition, so that seems to fit as well. However, what does not fit is "serialized". When I put in "serialized A. S." and "serialized A. S. medical condition" it brings up computer coding pages.

So, my question is, what is written? And I know this may seem like more of a handwriting reading question, but I am sure someone with the proper medical knowledge will be able to read it instantly. Thank you so much for your help, and here is the picture, I am referring to the middle line in the "Other Significant Conditions" box:

Death Certificate

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    @ChrisRogers The free dictionary also redirects Cardio Vascular Accident to Stroke. Perhaps terminology was slightly different 45 years ago when the above happened.
    – Armand
    Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 8:47
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    @Jimmy G Agree with Chris Rogers....CVA is probably "Cerebrovascular Accident" which is an (acute) stroke. Could the "ASDH c xxxx AS" be "ASHD with generalized AS" or "Atherosclerotic Heart Disease with Generalized Atherosclerosis?" That is a transposition of "ASHD" to "ASDH" and bad handwriting that makes "generalized" look like "serialized." AS is recognized as abbreviation for "Atherosclerosis." This would fit with the acute stroke, which occurs often in people with generalized atherosclerosis. Atherosclerotic heart disease is a specific manifestation of generalized atherosclerosis. Commented Jun 4, 2021 at 22:43
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    Agree with everything @DianaPetitti states. Transposition is the most likely explanation for the notation ASDH. Even in 1975, myocardial infarction was abbreviated as MI, not CVA. It looks like it may have occurred (?)3 wks prior? He may have had previous strokes, as "Chronic Brain Disease" is also listed separate from Parkinson's. But who knows for certain? Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 13:42
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    If you download the photo, open it in a photo editor, and zoom in closely on the text, the word written is quite clearly "generalized" not "serialized." So I also agree with @DianaPetitti's interpretation.
    – Carey Gregory
    Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 15:33
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    @Carey Gregory Should I write this up and post it as a "group answer?" Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 21:42

2 Answers 2


Several folks working together (Chris Rogers, agoodnurse, Carey Gregory) come to a consensus about this certificate as follows.

CVA is virtually certain to be "Cerebrovascular Accident," which is an (acute) stroke.

The term “ASDH” is likely a transposition of the last two letters of “ASHD,” and thus means "Atherosclerotic Heart Disease”.

Bad handwriting makes "generalized" look like "serialized," which can be seen by blowing up the image and inspecting with a magnifier. A photo of the blown up image (courtesy of Carey Gregory) is here. enter link description here

AS is a recognized as abbreviation for "Atherosclerosis."

Thus, the whole phrase on the second line of the “Other Significant Conditions” box would be “Atherosclerotic Heart Disease with generalized Atherosclerosis.”

The entire sequence of events appears to be “Acute Congestive Heart Failure” for a few hours and pneumonia for one day, with an acute stroke (CVA or cerebrovascular accident) leading up to the pneumonia and congestive heart failure. These events occurred in a person who had, for years, Parkinson’s Disease, atherosclerotic heart disease with generalized atherosclerosis, and chronic brain disease.


(I am a molecular biologist, not a doctor)

(earlier text deleted as wrong)

My naive reading is that a stroke (CVA) happened, and after a few weeks indirectly caused orthostatic pneumonia (apparently "an older term that refers to pneumonia that develops because the patient is on prolonged bedrest"), which rapidly led to congestive heart failure.

PS - I think Ankylosing Spondilitis is more of an autoimmune arthritis of the bones of the spine

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    You should delete the first two paragraphs. You've erred in interpreting the effects of acute or chronic subdural hemorrhage. Also, it's generalized, not serialized. Guessing is unhelpful, and answers usually require support. Of course, then you would not be addressing the question. Commented Jul 4, 2021 at 13:23

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