Deaths with asthma in France, 2000-2005: a multiple-cause analysis.

J Asthma. 2009 May;46(4):402-6 Fuhrman C, Jougla E, Uhry Z, Delmas MC. Institut de veille sanitaire, Saint-Maurice Cedex, France.

Mortality from asthma has decreased in many countries since the 1990s. Mortality statistics are usually based only on the underlying cause of death. The objectives of this study were to describe the characteristics of deaths and the trends in asthma-related mortality using multiple-cause analysis. Data were obtained from the French Centre of Epidemiology on Medical Causes of Death. Because ICD-10 was implemented in 2000, the analysis covers the period 2000-2005. In 2004-2005, asthma was the underlying cause of 42% of deaths with certificates mentioning asthma. The age-standardised rates of death from asthma decreased from 2000 through 2005 (-12% and -11%/year in the 1-44 and 45-64 age groups, respectively). The decline for all deaths with asthma was less pronounced (-9%/year in the 1-44 age group and -8%/year in the 45-64). Among adults aged 65 or older, the decrease in asthma-related mortality was higher in men (-12%/year for underlying cause, -9% for multiple-cause) than women (-5% and -3%, respectively). Since 2002, age-standardised rates of asthma-related mortality have been higher in women than men. In people aged 1-44 years, in-hospital deaths have declined between 2000 and 2005 while the proportion of non-hospital deaths increased from 53% to 67%.

Regardless of the definition used, the age-standardised rate of asthma-related deaths decreased from 2000 to 2005, and the faster decline for underlying cause than for multiple-cause mortality argues for a real decline in mortality attributable to asthma. Using multiple cause-of-death analysis provides additional information for asthma mortality surveillance.

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