3303.0 - Causes of Death, Australia, 2014 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 08/03/2016   
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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 ABS ranks leading causes of death in this publication based on research presented in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization, Volume 84, Number 4, April 2006, 297-304. For further information see Explanatory Notes 34-35 in this publication.

In 2014, the leading underlying cause of death for all Australians was Ischaemic heart disease (I20-I25), which includes angina, blocked arteries of the heart and heart attacks. Ischaemic heart diseases were identified as the underlying cause of 20,173 deaths, 13.1% of all deaths registered in 2014. The proportion of deaths due to Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25) has decreased over the past 10 years, from 18.0% (23,570) in 2005 to 13.1% (20,173) in 2014.

In 2013 Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (F01, F03, G30) became the second leading cause of death, replacing Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69). It continues to be the second leading cause of death in 2014. Over the last 10 years Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (F01, F03, G30) has been increasing, moving from the fifth leading cause in 2005, to the third leading cause in 2008, to now the second leading cause in 2013 and 2014. While there are clearly increased numbers of deaths from Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (F01, F03, G30) over the past ten years, there are factors which need to be considered when interpreting this increase. For further information see Explanatory Note 77, in this publication.

Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69) remained the third leading underlying cause of death in 2014. Cerebrovascular diseases include haemorrhages, strokes, infarctions and blocked arteries of the brain. Over the last 10 years, deaths due to this cause have decreased by 6.5%, from 11,513 deaths in 2005 to 10,765 deaths in 2014.

Trachea, bronchus and lung cancers (C33-C34) were the fourth leading cause of death in 2014. Over the last 10 years, deaths due to this cause have increased by 11.5%, from 7,399 in 2005 to 8,251 in 2014.

The top ten leading causes of death accounted for 51.0% of all deaths registered in 2014, and the top 20 leading causes accounted for 67.1%.


2.1 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a), Australia - Selected years - 2005, 2009, 2014(b)

2005
2009
2014
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
no.
Rank
no.
Rank

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
23 570
1
22 587
1
20 173
1
Dementia, including Alzheimer disease (F01, F03, G30)
4 653
5
8 280
3
11 965
2
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69)
11 513
2
11 216
2
10 765
3
Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34)
7 399
3
7 786
4
8 251
4
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
5 428
4
5 984
5
7 810
5
Diabetes (E10-E14)
3 529
8
4 176
6
4 348
6
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
3 614
7
3 811
8
4 275
7
Colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus cancer (C18-C21)
4 171
6
4 068
7
4 169
8
Heart failure (I50-I51)
2 739
12
3 219
10
3 447
9
Diseases of the urinary system (N00-N39)
2 948
10
3 315
9
3 136
10
Prostate cancer (C61)
2 946
11
3 111
11
3 102
11
Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18)
3 034
9
1 790
17
2 873
12
Intentional self-harm (X60-X84)(c)
2 101
14
2 335
13
2 861
13
Breast cancer (C50)
2 736
13
2 799
12
2 844
14
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
2 018
15
2 204
14
2 547
15
Accidental falls (W00-W19)
996
27
1 450
21
2 301
16
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
1 445
18
1 845
15
2 225
17
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
1 265
20
1 552
19
2 131
18
Skin cancers (C43-C44)
1 678
16
1 837
16
2 067
19
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K76)
1 427
19
1 548
20
1 754
20

(a) Causes listed are the top 20 leading causes of death for 2014, based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 34-35 in this publication for further information. Groupings of deaths coded to Chapter XVIII: Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99) are not included in analysis, due to the unspecific nature of these causes. Furthermore, many deaths coded to this chapter are likely to be affected by revisions, and hence recoded to more specific causes of death as they progress through the revisions process.
(b) See Explanatory Notes 68-94 for further information on specific issues related to interpreting time-series and 2014 data.
(c) 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 intentional self-harm. See Explanatory Notes 85-92 in this publication.

Another useful way of considering leading causes of death relates to Years of Potential Life Lost (YPLL). Years of Potential Life Lost measures the extent of 'premature' mortality, and aids in assessing the significance of specific diseases or trauma as a cause of premature death. In Australia, this is assumed to be any death between the ages of 1-78 years, inclusive. The listing of leading causes used by the ABS is based on the number of deaths, so is determined according to incidence of mortality rather than prematurity of mortality. Table 2.2 presents data for the top 20 leading causes of death by incidence, against the associated YPLL count. The table highlights that while a cause of death may have a lower incidence than that of another, its impact when measured in terms of premature death may be greater, as a result of that cause affecting a younger demographic. Note that the rank of years of potential life lost compares only those conditions in the top 20 leading cause list. Other conditions not listed in this group may have higher associated years of potential life lost.

Years of Potential Life Lost was highest for Intentional self-harm (X60-X84). A total of 97,066 years of potential life lost was due to this cause, even though it was the 13th leading cause of all deaths in 2014. Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-25), which were the leading cause of death, had the second highest YPLL, with a total of 77,584 years of potential life lost. Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34) was the fourth leading cause of death and had the third highest YPLL with 57,660 years of potential life lost. Although Dementia, including Alzheimer's disease (F01, F30, G30) was the second leading cause of death, the YPLL ranking of the disease was 17, with 6,710 years of potential life lost.


2.2 LEADING CAUSES OF DEATH(a) AND YEARS OF POTENTIAL LIFE LOST, Australia - Persons - 2014(b)

2014
YPLL
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
Rank
Rank(d)

Ischaemic heart diseases (I20-I25)
20 173
1
77 584
2
Dementia, including Alzheimer disease (F01, F03, G30)
11 965
2
6 710
17
Cerebrovascular diseases (I60-I69)
10 765
3
25 933
9
Trachea, bronchus and lung cancer (C33-C34)
8 251
4
57 660
3
Chronic lower respiratory diseases (J40-J47)
7 810
5
28 897
6
Diabetes (E10-E14)
4 348
6
19 171
10
Blood and lymph cancer (including leukaemia) (C81-C96)
4 275
7
27 469
7
Colon, sigmoid, rectum and anus cancer (C18-C21)
4 169
8
30 065
5
Heart failure (I50-I51)
3 447
9
7 902
14
Diseases of the urinary system (N00-N39)
3 136
10
7 438
16
Prostate cancer (C61)
3 102
11
7 562
15
Influenza and pneumonia (J09-J18)
2 873
12
8 754
13
Intentional self-harm (X60-X84)(c)
2 861
13
97 066
1
Breast cancer (C50)
2 844
14
30 145
4
Pancreatic cancer (C25)
2 547
15
16 967
11
Accidental falls (W00-W19)
2 301
16
6 526
18
Hypertensive diseases (I10-I15)
2 225
17
3 985
19
Cardiac arrhythmias (I47-I49)
2 131
18
3 205
20
Skin cancers (C43-C44)
2 067
19
16 542
12
Cirrhosis and other diseases of liver (K70-K76)
1 754
20
26 875
8

(a) Causes listed are the top 20 leading causes of death for 2014, based on the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. See Explanatory Notes 34-35 in this publication for further information. Groupings of deaths coded to Chapter XVIII: Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified (R00-R99) are not included in analysis, due to the unspecific nature of these causes. Furthermore, many deaths coded to this chapter are likely to be affected by revisions, and hence recoded to more specific causes of death as they progress through the revisions process.
(b) See Explanatory Notes 68-94 for further information on specific issues relating to 2014 data.
(c) Excludes Sequelae of intentional self-harm (Y87.0) as per the WHO recommended tabulation of leading causes. Care needs to be taken in interpreting figures relating to intentional self-harm. See Explanatory Notes 86-92.

(d) The ranking of YPLL data presented in this table is based only on the 20 causes listed. When considering the full listing of leading causes of death, including those not in the top 20, the YPLL ranking would be different. See Explanatory Notes 36-39 for further information on YPLL.