3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2008 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/03/2010   
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OVERVIEW

Ranking causes of death is a useful method of describing patterns of mortality in a population. It allows comparison over time and between populations. However, different methods of grouping causes of death can result in a vastly different list of leading causes for any given population. The ranking of leading causes of death in this publication are based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organisation, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 257-336 (see Explanatory Notes 40-42 for further information).

Data for 2008 have been positively impacted by process improvements. See Technical Note 1: 2008 COD Collection - Process Improvements for further information. These data are also subject to a revisions process. See Technical Note 2: Causes of Death - Revisions Process for further information.

In 2008, the leading underlying cause of death for all Australians was Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25), which includes angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks. Ischaemic heart diseases were identified as the underlying cause of 23,665 deaths, 16% of all deaths registered in 2008. While Ischaemic heart diseases have been the leading cause of death in Australia since 1999, the number of deaths due to this cause has decreased, from 27,609 in 1999 to 23,665 in 2008. Similarly, the proportion of deaths where Ischaemic heart disease was the underlying cause has declined from 22% of all deaths in 1999 to 16% in 2008.

Cerebrovascular disease [Strokes] (I60-I69) remained the second leading underlying cause of death in 2008. Strokes include haemorrhages, strokes, infarctions and blocked arteries of the brain. Compared to 10 years ago, deaths due to this cause decreased by 2.4%, from 12,266 deaths in 1999 to 11,973 deaths in 2008. The proportion of deaths attributed to Strokes has decreased over the last 10 years, from 9.6% of deaths in 1999 to 8.3% of deaths in 2008.

Dementia and Alzheimer's disease (F01-F03, G30) was the third leading cause of death in 2008. The number of deaths due to this cause has increased 138% from 3,427 in 1999 to 8,171 in 2008. This is largely due to an increase in deaths due to Dementia (F01-F03), which increased from 1,911 in 1999 to 5,688 in 2008.

Trachea and lung cancers (C33-C34) were the fourth leading cause of death in 2008. Compared to 10 years ago, deaths due to this cause have increased by 17%, from 6,803 in 1999 to 7,946 in 2008. The proportion of deaths attributed to this cause was also higher in 2008, 5.3% in 1999 and 5.5% in 2008.

The top 10 leading causes of death accounted for 53% of all deaths registered in 2008, and the top 20 leading causes accounted for 67%.

3.1 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Australia Selected years - 1999, 2003, 2008(b)(c)

1999
2003
2008
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
no.
Rank
no.
Rank

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
27 609
1
25 439
1
23 665
1
Strokes (I60-I69)
12 266
2
12 240
2
11 973
2
Dementia and Alzheimer disease (F01-F03, G30)
3 427
7
4 275
6
8 171
3
Trachea and lung cancer (C33-C34)
6 803
3
6 976
3
7 946
4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
6 096
4
5 985
4
6 255
5
Diabetes (E10-E14)
2 947
9
3 389
9
4 191
6
Colon and rectum cancer (C18-C21)
4 576
5
4 447
5
4 120
7
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
3 558
6
3 712
7
3 889
8
Heart failure (I50-I51)
3 222
8
2 988
10
3 360
9
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N39)
2 698
10
2 922
11
3 224
10
Prostate cancer (C61)
2 499
12
2 842
12
3 031
11
Breast cancer (C50)
2 527
11
2 722
13
2 788
12
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
1 718
16
1 902
15
2 291
13
Suicide (X60-X84)(d)
2 492
13
2 213
14
2 190
14
Skin cancers (C43-C44)
1 371
18
1 527
17
1 857
15
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 177
21
1 364
19
1 824
16
Influenza and pneumonia (J10-J18)
1 898
15
3 566
8
1 742
17
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
946
24
1 102
24
1 547
18
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K77)
1 243
19
1 390
18
1 490
19
Falls (W00-W19)
520
41
709
36
1 348
20

(a) Causes listed are the leading causes of death for all deaths registered in 2008 based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 40-42 for further information.
(b) Causes of death data for 2008 are preliminary and subject to a revisions process. See Technical Note 2: Causes of Death - Revisions Process.
(c) 2008 data have been subject to process improvements which have increased the quality of these data. See Technical Note 1: 2008 COD Collection - Process Improvements for further information.
(d) Excludes Sequelae of suicide (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to Suicide due to limitations of the data, see Explanatory Notes 72-75.


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