A new data driven method for summarising multiple cause of death data [post]

Annette Dobson, Paul McElwee, Mohammad Reza Baneshi, James Eynstone-Hinkins, Lauren Moran, Michael Waller
2022 unpublished
National mortality statistics are based on a single underlying cause of death. This practice does not adequately represent the impact of the range of conditions experienced in an ageing population in which multimorbidity is common. We propose a new method for calculating the percentages of deaths attributed to different causes that takes account of the patterns of associations among underlying and contributing causes of death. It is driven by the data and unlike previously proposed methods does
more » ... not rely on arbitrary choices of weights which can over-emphasise the contribution of some causes of death. The method is illustrated using Australian mortality data for people aged 60 years or more. Compared to the usual method based only on the underlying cause of death the new method attributes higher percentages of deaths to conditions like diabetes and dementia that are frequently mentioned as contributing causes of death and lower percentages to conditions to which they are closely related such as ischaemic heart disease and cerebrovascular disease. For some causes, notably cancers, which are usually recorded as underlying causes with few if any contributing causes the new method produces similar percentages to the usual method. These different patterns among groups of related conditions are not apparent if arbitrary weights are used. The new method does not greatly affect the rank order of conditions, confirming the validity of existing methods but it more adequately reflects the contributions of certain causes to overall mortality burden.
doi:10.21203/rs.3.rs-1907421/v1 fatcat:xfoucfcxxfgvxexrtxtbvygrqy