Volume 45 - Article 11 | Pages 345–360  

Using multiple cause of death information to eliminate garbage codes

By Agnieszka Fihel, Magdalena Muszyńska-Spielauer

Abstract

Background: International comparisons of mortality largely depend on the quality of data. With more than 20% of deaths annually assigned to ill-defined cardiovascular conditions, the mortality level due to well-defined causes of death is under-registered in Poland.

Objective: We aim to reclassify cardiovascular garbage codes (GCs) into well-defined causes based on multiple causes of death (MCoD) data and to approximate mortality levels due to well-defined causes of death in Poland. We examine the usefulness of the MCoD approach for correcting low-quality data on causes of death.

Methods: Based on the unique MCoD dataset for Poland, death counts due to cardiovascular GCs were reassigned to well-defined underlying causes in two steps: (1) manually for death records that included MCoD information constituting a logical chain of conditions leading to death and (2) with coarsened exact matching for the remaining death records. Age-specific and age-standardised death rates for large groups of causes were calculated before and after redistribution and compared to those of other Eastern European countries with relatively good data quality.

Results: Of deaths originally assigned to cardiovascular GCs, 86,856 were reclassified, mostly to well-defined cardiovascular diseases, cancers, endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases, and respiratory diseases. The age-standardised death rate due to well-defined ischaemic heart diseases increased by 43%, and the rate due to cerebrovascular diseases by 22%. Cardiovascular mortality structure by large groups of causes became similar to the structure registered in other Eastern European countries characterised by a low prevalence of GCs.

Conclusions: Coarsened exact matching performs relatively well when abundant MCoD information is available and enhances the comparability of cause-of-death data between countries.

Contribution: Redistribution of GCs improves the quality of cause-of-death data and enhances their comparability between countries.

Author's Affiliation

Other articles by the same author/authors in Demographic Research

The direct and indirect impact of international migration on the population ageing process: A formal analysis and its application to Poland
Volume 38 - Article 43

Minor gradient in mortality by education at the highest ages: An application of the Extinct-Cohort method
Volume 29 - Article 19

Women’s employment and union dissolution in a changing socio-economic context in Russia
Volume 18 - Article 6

Migration and union dissolution in a changing socio-economic context: The case of Russia
Volume 17 - Article 27

Most recent similar articles in Demographic Research

Measuring short-term mobility patterns in North America using Facebook advertising data, with an application to adjusting COVID-19 mortality rates
Volume 50 - Article 10    | Keywords: COVID-19, data collection, Facebook, mortality, North America, short-term mobility

Immigrant mortality advantage in the United States during the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic
Volume 50 - Article 7    | Keywords: COVID-19, immigrants, mortality

Frailty at death: An examination of multiple causes of death in four low mortality countries in 2017
Volume 49 - Article 2    | Keywords: aging, causes of mortality, mortality, multiple causes of death

Ethnic and regional inequalities in Russian military fatalities in Ukraine: Preliminary findings from crowdsourced data
Volume 48 - Article 31    | Keywords: armed conflict, fatality, military, mortality, Russia, Ukraine, war

The question of the human mortality plateau: Contrasting insights by longevity pioneers
Volume 48 - Article 11    | Keywords: age, France, Gompertz mortality, mortality, mortality plateau, older population, parametric models, supercentenarians, survival analysis, trajectories