APPENDIX III. Glossary of terms
Underlying cause: The cause which is deemed to have started the morbid train of events which has led to death. There must always be an underlying cause. If only one cause is listed above the line on the death certificate then this will be the underlying cause.
Associated cause: Any cause listed on the death certificate other than the underlying cause.
Multiple cause: All causes listed on the death certificate (either above or below the line), including, therefore, both the underlying cause as well as all associated causes. For example, 'diabetes' as a 'multiple cause' would refer to all instances in which diabetes is listed somewhere on the death certificate.
Mention: In this paper this term is used to describe each occurrence of a specified cause on a death record. An important point to note about multiple cause data is that figures can refer to either numbers of mentions or numbers of deaths. For example, if a death record contained three different codes from the range of codes belonging to "Diseases of the circulatory system" (ICD-10: I00-I99), then there are three mentions (of circulatory disease), but only one death. When considering more detailed ICD categories, it would be unlikely that there is more than one cause in the same category per death certificate, thus the number of mentions would usually equal the number of deaths.
"xxxx-related deaths": For example "diabetes-related deaths". This term is used by AIHW in publications such as Diabetes as a cause of death, Australia, 1997 and 1998. It refers to all deaths in which diabetes is mentioned anywhere on the death certificate. In this context deaths are being counted rather than mentions (they would be expected to be the same as 'mentions' in this case, due to the small size of 'diabetes' as a category).
Disease or condition directly leading to death: This is the condition listed on line (a) of the death certificate. It can also be the underlying cause if that is the only disease or condition listed above the line.
Antecedent cause: Any disease or condition which has given rise to another disease or condition in the morbid train of events leading to death.
Contributory condition/ Other significant condition/ Condition in Part II/ Condition below the line: These are all terms used to describe conditions or diseases which are listed in Part II of the death certificate.
This page last updated 10 August 2006