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3303.0.55.001 - Causes of Death, Australia: Doctor Certified Deaths, Summary Tables, 2007 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 25/11/2008   
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NOTES


ABOUT THIS PUBLICATION

This publication contains summary information relating to cause of death for those deaths certified by doctors. It should be noted that these data represent only a subset of all causes of death, and that the numbers presented here are not comprehensive. Doctor certified deaths account for 88% of all deaths registered in 2007. The remainder are reported to, and certified by, a coroner.

Although what constitutes a reportable death varies across jurisdictions, they are generally reported in circumstances such as:

  • Where the person died unexpectedly and the cause of death is unknown;
  • Where the person died in a violent or unnatural manner;
  • Where the person died during, or as a result of, an anaesthetic;
  • Where the person was 'held in care' or in custody immediately before they died; and
  • Where the identity of the person who has died is unknown.

A complete dataset of causes of death for 2007 will be published in Causes of Death, Australia 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0), due to be released on 18 March 2009. For further information on certification of causes of death, refer to Explanatory Notes paragraph 2.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


NOTES

This publication contains summary information on causes of death for all doctor certified deaths for Australia. Doctor certified deaths account for 88% of all deaths registered in 2007. The remainder are reported to, and certified by, a coroner.

Causes of death for all deaths in 2007, whether doctor or coroner certified, will be published in Causes of Death, Australia 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0), due to be released in March 2009. All coroner certified deaths registered after 1 January 2007 will be subject to a revision of their ICD-10 codes should more information become available over time which would improve the quality of the allocated code. Further information on the revision process and the new dissemination strategy is provided in the Explanatory Note 4 and 5.

The proportion of deaths certified by a doctor varies according to cause of death. For example, deaths classified to Chapter XVIII Ill defined causes and Chapter XX External causes, have a much lower proportion of deaths certified by doctors. In 2006, doctor certified deaths classified to these chapters accounted for only 30% and 17%, respectively. Given the low number of doctor certified deaths for these particular causes, they are not presented in detail in this publication. However, the information will be available in the March 2009 release of Causes of Death, Australia 2007 (cat. no. 3303.0) which will provide causes of death for all deaths in 2007.


OVERVIEW

There were 137,854 doctor and coroner certified deaths registered in Australia in 2007, 4,115 (3.1%) more than the number registered in 2006 (133,739). The age standardised death rate in 2007 was 6 deaths per 1,000 standard population. This was the lowest on record, reflecting a steady decline in the standardised death rate over the past decade from 7.6 deaths per 1,000 in 1997.

Males accounted for 70,569 (51%) deaths registered in 2007, and females accounted for the remaining 67,285 deaths (49%). The sex ratio (male deaths per 100 female deaths) has been gradually declining over the past decade, down from 110.0 in 1997 to 104.9 in 2007.

Further details on numbers of deaths registered can be found in Deaths, Australia 2007 (cat. no. 3302.0)


DOCTOR CERTIFIED DEATHS

Of all deaths registered in 2007, 121,002 (88%) were certified by a doctor. The remainder were reportable deaths, certified by a coroner.

Males accounted for 59,279 (49%) of all doctor certified deaths registered in 2007, with females accounting for the remaining 61,723 (51%). The median age at death for doctor certified deaths registered in 2007 was 81.7 years, whereas the median age at death for coroner certified deaths registered in 2007 was significantly lower at 57.9 years.


State and territory doctor certified deaths

The proportion of deaths certified by a doctor varies between jurisdictions. In 2007, Northern Territory had the lowest proportion of deaths certified by a doctor at 68%. The Australian Capital Territory had the next lowest proportion of deaths certified by a doctor at 82%. New South Wales had the highest proportion of deaths certified by a doctor with 89%. The proportions for all jurisdictions are comparable with the previous year.

Table 1.1 Deaths, by type of Certifier and state/territory of registration - 2006-2007

2006
2007
Doctor
Coroner
Total
Doctor
Coroner
no.
%
no.
%
no.
no.
%
no.

NSW
40 510
88.7
5 160
11.3
45 670
41 352
89.2
5 015
Vic.
28 813
86.5
4 513
13.5
33 326
29 751
87.7
4 172
Qld
21 729
88.2
2 915
11.8
24 644
23 040
88.6
2 975
SA
10 068
84.3
1 878
15.7
11 946
10 521
84.9
1 867
WA
10 139
86.9
1 523
13.1
11 662
10 570
85.9
1 734
Tas.
3 454
88.2
460
11.8
3 914
3 654
89.1
447
NT
624
67.8
297
32.2
921
662
67.9
313
ACT
1 347
81.3
309
18.7
1 656
1 452
81.5
329
Aust.
116 684
87.2
17 055
12.8
133 739
121 002
87.8
16 852




Underlying cause of death

All deaths registered in 2007 have been coded using the tenth revision of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10) as released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

Causes of death statistics in Australia are recorded as both underlying cause i.e. the disease or injury which initiated the train of morbid events leading directly to death; and multiple cause i.e. all causes and conditions reported on the death certificate that contributed, were associated or was the underlying cause of the death (see Glossary for further details). Only underlying cause of death is presented in this publication. Information on multiple cause of death will be included in Causes of Death, Australia 2007(cat. no. 3303.0) when released in March 2009.

Table 1.2 presents summary data for causes of death for each major chapter of the ICD-10 for doctor certified deaths.

Table 1.2 Selected underlying cause of death - 2006-2007

2006
2007
Total deaths
Doctor certified deaths
Doctor certified deaths as proportion of total deaths
Doctor certified deaths as proportion of deaths by cause(a)
Doctor certified deaths
Doctor certified deaths as proportion of total deaths
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
no.
%
%
no.
%

Infectious diseases (A00-B99)
1 960
1 835
1.4
93.6
1 759
1.3
Cancer (C00-D48)
39 753
39 044
29.2
98.2
39 652
28.8
Blood and immunity disorders (D50-D89)
497
472
0.4
95.0
451
0.3
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90)
5 138
4 863
3.6
94.6
5 049
3.7
Mental and behavioural disorders (F00-F99)
5 156
4 949
3.7
96.0
5 479
4.0
Diseases of the nervous system (G00-G99)
4 903
4 610
3.4
94.0
5 186
3.8
Diseases of the Eye and ear (H00-H95)
13
np
-
np
5
-
Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (I00-I99)
45 670
39 478
29.5
86.4
40 573
29.4
Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99)
10 863
10 204
7.6
93.9
10 940
7.9
Diseases of the digestive system (K00-K93)
4 502
3 869
2.9
85.9
4 170
3.0
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (L00-L99)
333
322
0.2
96.7
349
0.3
Diseases of the muscles, bones and tendons (M00-M99)
1 076
1 018
0.8
94.6
1 033
0.7
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N99)
3 295
3 192
2.4
96.9
3 235
2.3
Pregnancy and childbirth O00-O99)
10
np
-
np
-
-
Conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96)
658
611
0.5
92.9
541
0.4
Congenital and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99)
547
456
0.3
83.4
501
0.4
Ill-defined causes (R00-R99)
1 525
450
0.3
29.5
631
0.5
External causes (V01-Y98)
7 840
1 298
1.0
16.6
1 448
1.1
Total doctor certified deaths
. .
116 684
87.2
. .
121 002
87.8
Total coroner certified deaths
. .
17 055
12.8
. .
16 852
12.2
Total deaths
133 739
133 739
100.0
100.0
137 854
100.0

. . not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated
(a) This data is not available for 2007 as the number of Coroner certified deaths by ICD-10 code are not final.


The following section presents information about those causes with a high proportion of doctor certified deaths. Care should be taken in interpreting these results as they exclude any deaths which have been referred to a coroner for investigation.

CANCERS (C00-D48)

Cancers were the underlying cause of 39,652 doctor certified deaths in 2007, slightly more than the 39,044 doctor certified deaths in 2006. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 98% of all deaths due to these causes.

Of those doctor certified deaths in 2007 due to cancer, 22,383 were of males and 17,269 were of females. Median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to cancer was 75.0 years.

ENDOCRINE, NUTRITIONAL AND METABOLIC DISEASES (E00-E90)

In 2007, Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases were the underlying cause of 5,049 deaths, a slight increase (3.8%) from the 4,863 doctor certified deaths in 2006. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 95% of all deaths due to these causes.

Doctor certified deaths due to Diabetes (E10-E14) increased (3.8%) from 3,507 in 2006 to 3,642 in 2007. Specifically, Non-insulin diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes (E11) increased from 1,497 in 2006 to 1,563 in 2007. Unspecified diabetes (E14) increased from 1,681 in 2006 to 1,723 in 2007.

Of those deaths due to Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases certified by a doctor, 2,446 were males and 2,603 were females. Median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases was 81.3 years.

MENTAL AND BEHAVIOURAL DISORDERS (F00-F99)

Mental and behavioural disorders were the underlying cause of 5,479 doctor certified deaths in 2007, an 11% increase from the 4,949 doctor certified deaths in 2006. The majority of deaths due to Mental and behavioural disorders are usually certified by a doctor. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 96% of all deaths due to these causes.

Dementia (F01-F03) accounted for the majority of the increase in doctor certified deaths due to Mental and behavioural disorders in 2007, increasing from 4,510 doctor certified deaths in 2006 to 4,975 in 2007. This followed a significant increase in 2006, from 2,563 in 2005. This was due to a change in coding, as well as legislative changes, as outlined in Explanatory Note paragraph 34. These changes continue to apply for 2007 data.

Of those deaths due to Mental and behavioural disorders certified by a doctor, 1,953 were of males and 3,526 were of females. The median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to Mental and behavioural disorders was 87.3 years.

DISEASES OF THE NERVOUS SYSTEM (G00-G99)

Diseases of the nervous system were the underlying cause of 5,186 doctor certified deaths in 2007, a 12.5% increase from the 4,610 doctor certified deaths in 2006. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 94% of all deaths due to these causes.

Alzheimer's disease (G30) accounted for the majority of the increase in doctor certified deaths due to diseases of the nervous system in 2007, increasing from 1,940 in 2006 to 2,252 in 2007.

Of those deaths due to Diseases of the nervous system certified by a doctor, 2,338 were males and 2,848 were females. The median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to Diseases of the nervous system was 82.3 years.

DISEASES OF THE HEART AND BLOOD VESSELS (I00-I99)

Diseases of the heart and blood vessels were the underlying cause of 40,573 deaths certified by a doctor in 2007, a 2.8% increase from the 39,478 doctor certified deaths in 2006. Diseases of the heart and blood vessels generally include a relatively high proportion of coroner certified deaths. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 86% of all deaths due to these causes.

Of those deaths due to Diseases of the heart and blood vessels certified by a doctor, 17,955 were males and 22,618 were females. Median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to Diseases of the heart and blood vessels was 85.3 years.

DISEASES OF THE RESPIRATORY SYSTEM (J00-J99)

Diseases of the respiratory system were the underlying cause of 10,940 doctor certified deaths in 2007, a 7.2% increase from the 10,204 doctor certified deaths in 2006. In 2006, doctor certified deaths made up 94% of all deaths due to these causes.

Of those deaths due to Diseases of the respiratory system certified by a doctor, 5,663 were males and 5,277 were females. Median age at death for all doctor certified deaths attributed to Diseases of the respiratory system was 83.0 years.

Table 1.3 Selected underlying causes of death, Doctor certified deaths(a), sex and median age - 2007

Males
Males
Females
Females
Persons
Median Age at death
Cause of death and ICD code
no.
%
no.
%
no.
years

Infectious diseases (A00-B99)
918
52.2
841
47.8
1 759
80.3
Cancer (C00-D48)
22 383
56.4
17 269
43.6
39 652
75.0
Blood and immunity disorders (D50-D89)
189
41.9
262
58.1
451
80.8
Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases (E00-E90)
2 446
48.4
2 603
51.6
5 049
81.3
Mental and behavioural disorders (F00-F99)
1 953
35.6
3 526
64.4
5 479
87.3
Diseases of the nervous system (G00-G99)
2 338
45.1
2 848
54.9
5 186
82.3
Diseases of the eye and adnexa (H00-H59)
4
. .
4
. .
1
86.8
Diseases of the ear and mastoid process (H60-H95)
3
. .
3
. .
3
81.0
Diseases of the heart and blood vessels (I00-I99)
17 955
44.3
22 618
55.7
40 573
85.3
Diseases of the respiratory system (J00-J99)
5 663
51.8
5 277
48.2
10 940
83.0
Diseases of the digestive system (K00-K93)
2 042
49.0
2 128
51.0
4 170
80.8
Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous tissue (L00-L99)
141
40.4
208
59.6
349
85.8
Diseases of the muscles, bones and tendons (M00-M99)
318
30.8
715
69.2
1 033
83.9
Diseases of the kidney and urinary system (N00-N99)
1 464
45.3
1 771
54.7
3 235
85.0
Pregnancy and childbirth (O00-O99)
-
-
-
-
-
-
Conditions originating in the perinatal period (P00-P96)
304
56.2
237
43.8
541
0.5
Congenital and chromosomal abnormalities (Q00-Q99)
250
49.9
251
50.1
501
0.9
Ill-defined causes (R00-R99)
281
44.5
350
55.5
631
85.2
External causes (V01-Y98)
631
43.6
817
56.4
1 448
85.4
Total Doctor certified deaths
59 279
49.0
61 723
51.0
121 002
81.7
Total Coroner certified deaths
11 290
67.0
5 562
33.0
16 852
57.9
Total
70 569
51.2
67 285
48.8
137 854
80.5

. . not applicable
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Data cells with small values have been randomly assigned to protect confidentiality. 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.



DATACUBES

Further information on Causes of Deaths 2007 is presented in the datacubes associated with this publication.



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