An underlying cause of death is the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death. Accidental and violent deaths are classified according to the external cause, that is, to the circumstances of the accident or violence which produced the fatal injury rather than to the nature of the injury.
All deaths registered in 2006 have been coded using the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) as released by the World Health Organization (WHO).
In 2006, Ischaemic heart disease, defined as ICD-10 codes I20-I25, was the leading underlying cause of death in Australia. Ischaemic heart disease includes angina, blocked arteries (heart) and heart attacks, both new and old. It represented 17% of all registered deaths in Australia. It accounted for 18% of all male deaths, and 17% of all female deaths registered in 2006.
The table below presents summary data for causes of death for each major chapter of the ICD-10. Further information on those causes at the 3-character level where 20 of more deaths were attritbuted to the cause in 2006 is presented in the section below.
2.1 Deaths, by ICD10 chapter level - 2006
Proportion of total deaths
Standardised Death Rate(a)
|Cause of death and ICD code |
|CHAPTER I Certain infectious and parasitic diseases (A00-B99) |
|CHAPTER II Neoplasms (C00-D48) |
|CHAPTER III Diseases of the blood and blood-forming organs and certain disorders involving the immune mechanism (D50-D89) |
|CHAPTER IV Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90) |
|CHAPTER V Mental and behavioural disorders (F00-F99) |
|CHAPTER VI Diseases of the nervous system (G00-G99) |
|CHAPTER IX Diseases of the circulatory system (I00-I99) |
|CHAPTER X Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99) |
|CHAPTER XI Diseases of the digestive system (K00-K93) |
|CHAPTER XII Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (L00-L99) |
|CHAPTER XIII Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue (M00-M99) |
|CHAPTER XIV Diseases of the genitourinary system (N00-N99) |
|CHAPTER XVI Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96) |
|CHAPTER XVII Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99) |
|CHAPTER XVIII Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99) |
|CHAPTER XX External causes of morbidity and mortality (V01-Y98) |
|All Causes |
|(a) Number of deaths per 1,000 of the estimated resident population. See Glossary for more information. |
Further information on Underlying Causes of Death is presented in the datacubes associated with this publication.