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17 Tables 1.1, 1.3, 1.4, 2.1, 2.2 and 4.1 present statistics at the ICD chapter level with further disaggregation for major causes of death. Background on this summary classification is given in Volume 1 of the ICD.
18 Tables 1.2 and 1.4 present data for main causes of death for age groups. For each age group, a summary classification of the selected causes of death relevant to the age group has been used. These consist of causes of death significant in that age group, at the chapter level, with further disaggregation below the chapter level where appropriate.
19 To enable the reader to see the relationship between the various summary classifications used in this publication, all tables show in brackets the ICD codes which constitute the causes of death covered.
20 As ICD-9 did not directly accommodate the coding of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) and AIDS-related deaths, cases where AIDS was the underlying cause were coded to ICD-9 deficiency of cell-mediated immunity (279.1), from 1988 to 1995. In 1996, ABS adopted ICD-9 Clinically Modified (CM) for coding of AIDS and AIDS-related deaths. Hence, for 1996 to 1998, all AIDS-related deaths (i.e. deaths where AIDS was mentioned in any place on the death certificate) were coded to HIV infection (042-044). ICD-10 adopted from 1999 allows for the coding of AIDS and AIDS-related deaths (B20-B24).
21 All data in this publication refer to AIDS-related deaths rather than only those deaths where AIDS is the underlying cause. Hence in table 1.1 and 1.3, AIDS-related deaths differ from the data provided for all other causes in that table since for all other causes, only data for underlying cause are given.
22 For perinatal deaths, both the main condition in the fetus/infant, and the main condition in the mother are coded to the full four-digit level of the tenth revision of ICD. Causes selected for publication in this issue are those categories which were responsible for a significant proportion of perinatal deaths.
EXTERNAL CAUSES OF DEATH
23 Deaths that are classified as External Causes are generally of the kind that are reported to coroners for investigation. Although what constitutes a reportable death varies across jurisdictions, they are generally reported in circumstances such as where the person died:
24 Where an accidental or violent death occurs, the underlying cause is classified according to the circumstances of the fatal injury, rather than the nature of the injury which is coded separately.
25 In compiling causes of death statistics, the ABS employs a variety of quality control measures which include:
26 The quality of causes of death coding can be affected by changes in the way information is reported by certifiers, by lags in completion of coroner cases and the processing of the findings. While changes in reporting and lags in coronial processes can affect coding of all causes of death, those coded to Chapter XVIII: Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified and Chapter XX: External causes of morbidity and mortality are more likely to be affected because the code assigned within the chapter may vary depending on the coroner's findings.
Specific issues for 2005 data
27 Falls (W00-W19) - To reduce risk factors for falls in nursing homes in Victoria, all deaths where the medical certificate mentions falls are now referred to the coroner for verification, and the Coroner Clinical Liaison Service implemented a falls awareness campaign mid 2003. The number of deaths due to falls recorded in Victoria increased significantly in 2003 (up 50%), 2004(over 100%) and 2005 (14.1%) whereas in previous years the deaths may have been attributed to other causes such as hypostatic pneumonia.
Analysing small numbers
28 Perinatals (P00-P96) - There is some variability over time across a range of the perinatal death categories and where the numbers are small, caution should be applied in drawing inferences about change over time.
Quality affected by delays
29 Suicide (X60-X84) - Where coroners' cases are not finalised and the findings are not available to the ABS in time for publication of causes of death statistics, deaths are coded to other accidental, ill-defined or unspecified causes rather than suicide. The causes of death statistics are not revised once a coronial enquiry is finalised.
30 All states and territories have provision for the identification of Indigenous deaths on their death registration forms. However, the coverage of deaths identified as Indigenous varies across states and territories and over time. This publication presents in Table 1.7 Indigenous deaths data for 2005 for all states and territories except Victoria, Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory, which are not separately published due to a combination of comparatively small numbers, and relatively low coverage of reported Indigenous deaths. A higher proportion of Indigenous deaths are due to external cause than non-Indigenous deaths. It is advised that users should refer to Explanatory note 22 when interpreting 2005 data.
31 The ABS does not publish and disseminate statistics in a manner that is likely to enable the identification of a particular person or organisation. To maintain the confidentiality of individuals in this publication, affected cells are replaced with np, which indicates that the relevant statistic is not for publication.
EFFECTS OF ROUNDING
32 Where figures have been rounded, discrepancies may occur between totals and sums of the component items.
33 Appendix 1 provides details of the number of live births registered which have been used to calculate the infant death rates shown in this publication. Appendix 2 provides data on adjusted births used for calculating perinatal death rates. These also enable further rates to be calculated.
34 The ABS publications draw extensively on information provided freely by individuals, businesses, governments and other organisations. Their continued cooperation is very much appreciated: without it, the wide range of statistics published by the ABS would not be available.
35 Other ABS products which may be of interest include:
Births, Australia, cat. no. 3301.0 - issued annually
Causes of Deaths, Australia: Summary Tables cat. no. 3303.0.55.001 - issued irregularly
Causes of Infant and Child Deaths, Australia, 1982-96, cat. no. 4398.0 - issued irregularly - discontinued
Deaths, Australia, cat. no. 3302.0 - issued annually
Deaths due to Diseases and Cancers of the Respiratory System, Australia, 1979-1994, cat. no. 3314.0 - issued irregularly
Drug Induced Deaths, cat. no. 3321.0.55.001 - single issue
Information Paper: Drug-induced Deaths - A Guide to ABS Causes of Death Data, cat. no. 4809.0 - single issue
Information Paper: External Causes of Death, Data Quality, 2005, cat. no. 3317.0.55.001 - planned for release April 2007
Information Paper: Multiple Cause of Death Analysis, cat. no. 3319.0.55.001 - single issue
Mortality Atlas Australia 1997-2000, cat. no. 3318.0 - single issue
Suicides, Australia, 1921-1998, cat. no. 3309.0 - issued irregularly
Suicides: Recent Trends Australia, 1993-2003 cat. no. 3309.0.55.001 - issued irregularly
The Health and Welfare of Australia's Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples, 2005, cat. no. 4704.0 - issued biennially
36 The ABS has a web based information service called Statistics (previously known as AusStats) which provides the ABS full standard product range on line. It allows users to conveniently access a large range of ABS statistical and reference information, free of charge. It also includes companion data in multidimensional datasets in SuperTable format, and time series spreadsheets.
37 Current publications and other products released by the ABS are listed in the Catalogue of Publications and Products (cat. no. 1101.0). The catalogue is available from any ABS office or the ABS web site at <http://www.abs.gov.au>. The ABS also issues a daily Release Advice on the web site which details products to be released in the week ahead.
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