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3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2007 Quality Declaration 
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Contents >> Multiple causes of death >> Multiple Causes of Death

MULTIPLE CAUSES OF DEATH

Introduction

Multiple causes of death statistics include all causes and conditions reported on the death certificate (i.e. both underlying and associated causes; see Glossary for further details). Deaths due to External causes are those which occur as a result of accidents, poisonings and/or violence. They are classified according to the event, leading to the fatal injury, such as an accidental fall. Multiple cause data for External causes include the nature of injury or poisoning, as well as any other causes reported on the death certificate.


Datacubes

Further information on multiple cause of death is presented in the datacubes associated with this publication. These include the number of associated causes for all 3-digit underlying causes, as well as the number of mentions of each cause at the 3-digit level of ICD-10.


Number of Multiple Causes

For the 137,854 deaths registered in Australia in 2007, there were 431,191 causes mentioned, giving a mean of 3.1 causes per death. In 21% of all deaths, only one cause was reported, while 37% of deaths were reported with three or more causes. The mean number of causes reported per death varies with age, sex and underlying cause of death.


Selected Multiple Causes

In 2007, Malignant cancers (C00-C97) contributed to 32% (44,564) of all deaths as either an underlying or multiple cause. There were 56,114 mentions of Malignant cancers reported in 2007.

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25) which includes angina, heart attacks, and blocked arteries of the heart, were found to contribute to 27% of all deaths as either an underlying or multiple cause.

The following table lists selected causes of death, both underlying and associated causes, appearing on death certificates for deaths registered in 2007.

4.1 SELECTED MULTIPLE CAUSES OF DEATH(a) - 2007(b)(c)

UNDERLYING CAUSE
MULTIPLE CAUSE
Cause of death and ICD code
Number of deaths
Proportion of total deaths (%)
Number of deaths
Proportion of total deaths (%)
Mean no. of causes per death

All Causes
137 854
-
137 854
-
3.2
Malignant cancers (C00-C97)
39 323
28.5
44 564
32.3
2.5
Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
22 729
16.5
37 337
27.1
3.5
Strokes (I60-I69)
11 491
8.3
20 479
14.9
3.1
Dementia and Alzhiemer's disease (F01-F03, G30)(d)
7 320
5.3
17 809
12.9
3.0
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
5 762
4.2
13 867
10.1
3.6
Diabetes (E10-E14)
3 810
2.8
13 101
9.5
4.3
Heart failure (I50, I51)
3 444
2.5
20 098
14.6
3.8
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N39)
3 230
2.3
17 792
12.9
3.1
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
2 623
1.9
17 993
13.1
2.5
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 627
1.2
17 675
12.8
4.5
Suicides (X60-X84, Y870)(e)
1 881
1.4
1 887
1.4
2.6
Land transport accidents (V01-V89, Y850)(f)
1 294
0.9
1 337
1.0
2.8

- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Number of deaths and percentages may add to more than totals because a death certificate can report more than one leading multiple cause.
(b) Causes of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information.
(c) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. As a result, some totals will not equal the sum of their components. It is important to note that cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(d) See Explanatory Note 67 for further information on data relating to Dementia.
(e) Includes sequelae of suicide (Y87.0). Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to suicide due to limitations of the data. See Explanatory Notes 77-78 and Technical Note: ABS coding of suicide deaths for further information.
(f) Includes sequelae of transport accidents (Y85). Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to transport accidents for 2007. See Explanatory Notes 73-74 for further information.



Relationships between Multiple Causes

Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18) was identified as the underlying cause for 2,623 deaths in 2007. In 46% of cases, Influenza and pneumonia were reported alone and was the least likely of the selected causes to be reported with other associated causes.

In contrast, Diabetes (E10-E14) was reported alone as the underlying cause in only 1.6% of the 3,230 deaths attributed to this cause. It was reported more frequently with the associated causes of Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25) including angina, heart attacks and blocked arteries of the heart (51%) and Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15, 32%).

The following table illustrates relationships between the various causes of death in 2007.

4.2 SELECTED UNDERLYING CAUSES WITH ASSOCIATED CAUSE(a)(b)(c)

Underlying Cause
Reported alone
Proportion Reported with Selected Associated Cause
Cancers (C00-D48)
Ischaemic heart disease (I20-I25) (d)
Strokes (I60-I69)
Dementia & Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)(e)
Diabetes (E10-E14)
Heart failure (I50-I51)
Diseases of the kidney & urinary system (N00-N39)
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
Underlying Cause of Death
no.
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%
%

All Causes
137 854
20.5
32.3
27.1
14.9
12.9
10.1
9.5
14.6
12.9
13.1
12.8
Cancers (C00-D48)
39 323
36.6
100
8.6
3.7
2.9
6.1
6.2
4.0
7.1
6.9
6.2
Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)(d)
22 729
12.4
6.3
100
9.6
10.6
9.3
10.9
26.9
13.2
6.3
20.2
Strokes (I60-I69)
11 491
17.2
5.1
12.6
100
16.4
3.7
7.5
5.6
6.0
12.6
27.0
Dementia & Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30)
7 320
13.2
4.8
10.6
9.5
100
3.0
6.4
7.7
10.2
35.7
10.4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)(e)
5 762
7.1
7.8
19.2
5.1
7.2
100
6.9
17.7
9.9
33.3
10.2
Diabetes (E10-E14)
3 810
1.6
6.6
50.9
21.7
13.3
6.9
100
20.6
30.5
9.1
31.7
Heart failure (I50-I51)
3 444
17.5
4.5
2.0
10.0
11.4
10.4
6.2
100
19.0
18.1
6.4
Diseases of the kidney & urinary system (N00-N39)
3 230
11.2
5.0
22.7
7.9
12.2
5.4
8.1
23.3
100
13.2
4.4
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
2 623
45.9
0.9
9.0
1.8
4.1
1.9
3.4
8.0
8.2
100
3.5
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 627
4.7
6.5
1.8
10.5
18.9
7.4
9.8
39.2
33.1
9.2
100

(a) This table presents data for selected causes only. Therefore numbers and percentages due to reporting of underlying cause with selected associated causes do not add to totals.
(b) Causes of death data for 2007 is subject to revision. See Explanatory Notes 3-4 for further information.
(c) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect the confidentiality of individuals. As a result, some totals will not equal the sum of their components. It is important to note that cells with a zero value have not been affected by confidentialisation.
(d) Includes angina, heart attacks, and blocked arteries of the heart
(e) Includes asthma, bronchitis and emphysema



External Causes

In 2007, there were 26,828 deaths where External causes (V01-Y98) contributed to the death as either an underlying or multiple cause. There was a mean of 3.4 causes coded for each of the 7,893 deaths due to External causes.

Transport accidents (V01-V99, Y85) accounted for 18% of all injuries due to External causes, with 48% of these injuries being to the head or thorax. Suicide (X60-X84,Y87.0) accounted for 24% of all injuries due to External causes, and of these, Asphyxiation (T71) was the most common injury (54%).

Care should be taken in interpreting numbers of suicide deaths due to limitations in the data. For further information, see Explanatory Notes 77-78.


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