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Free Content Hidden respiratory disease-associated deaths

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OBJECTIVE: To bring together all deaths of respiratory origin, whether concentrated under Group J of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10) or in other codes, and including the upper and lower airways and thorax, for a more accurate assessment of the public importance of respiratory diseases.

METHODS: The most recent disaggregated mortality database (data from 86 countries) available from the World Health Organization using the ICD-10 was reviewed.

RESULTS: Respiratory problems caused 16.6% of the deaths in the countries analysed (95%CI 7.9–27.1); 61% were considered chronic respiratory ailments (95%CI 17–85). Of all respiratory-related deaths, 44% were outside Group J and 7.8% were hidden in codes other than J, thoracic tumours, tuberculosis and diseases of pulmonary circulation. Hidden respiratory deaths were more common in low-income countries, but approximately 5% of respiratory deaths in high-income countries were also hidden. Respiratory deaths were the leading cause of death in five countries even when compared to the total number of cardiovascular and cancer deaths.

CONCLUSIONS: A significant proportion of respiratory deaths are ‘hidden’ in several ICD-10 codes, and are more numerous in countries with a high rate of acute respiratory disease and a low rate of chronic respiratory disease.
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Keywords: ICD-10; global burden of diseases; respiratory tract diseases

Document Type: Regular Paper

Affiliations: National Institute of Respiratory Diseases of Mexico, Tlalpan, México

Publication date: 2008-04-01

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  • The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease publishes articles on all aspects of lung health, including public health-related issues such as training programmes, cost-benefit analysis, legislation, epidemiology, intervention studies and health systems research. The IJTLD is dedicated to the continuing education of physicians and health personnel and the dissemination of information on tuberculosis and lung health world-wide.

    Certain IJTLD articles are selected for translation into French, Spanish, Chinese or Russian. They are available on the Union website

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