Accuracy of asthma statistics from death certificates in South Australia

D. A. Campbell, P. A. Gluyas, R. E. Ruffin, G. McLennan, J. R. Coates, P. A. Frith, K. M. Latimer, A. J. Martin, D. M. Roder, P. M. Yellowlees

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess the accuracy of asthma statistics from death certificates in South Australia. Design: Comparison of death certificate coding with expert panel assessments of causes of death after interviews with certifying doctors, regular medical practitioners and close acquaintances of the deceased. Subjects: 261 subjects for whom the term 'asthma', 'asthmatic' or 'asthmaticus' was recorded in Part I or Part II of death certificates lodged in the 24-month period from May 1988. Main outcome measures: Sensitivity, specificity and predictive value of death certificate coding, with expert panel assessments as the reference standard. Results: About 95% of deaths assessed as definitely due to asthma were so coded from death certificates, but only 69% of deaths assessed by the panel as not due to asthma were coded to a 'non-asthmatic' cause. Of the 129 deaths coded to asthma, the percentage assessed as definitely or likely to be due to asthma was 56%. For ages under 65 years, this figure was 84% compared with only 38% for older subjects. Conclusion: The accuracy of death certificate data on asthma for the age group 65 years and over would be too low at present for most epidemiological purposes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)860-863
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Journal of Australia
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 1992
Externally publishedYes


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