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Fall-related mortality in southern Sweden: a multiple cause of death analysis, 1998–2014

Abstract

Objectives To investigate temporal trend in fall mortality among adults (aged ≥20 years) in southern Sweden using multiple cause of death data.

Methods We examined all death certificates (DCs, n=2 01 488) in adults recorded in the Skåne region during 1998–2014. We identified all fall deaths using International Statistical Classification of Diseases (ICD)-10 codes (W00-W19) and calculated the mortality rates by age and sex. Temporal trends were evaluated using joinpoint regression and associated causes were identified by age-adjusted and sex-adjusted observed/expected ratios.

Results Falls were mentioned on 1.0% and selected as underlying cause in 0.7% of all DCs, with the highest frequency among those aged ≥70 years. The majority (75.6%) of fall deaths were coded as unspecified fall (ICD-10 code: W19) followed by falling on or from stairs/steps (7.7%, ICD-10 code: W10) and other falls on the same level (6.3%, ICD-10 code: W18). The mean age at fall deaths increased from 77.5 years in 1998–2002 to 82.9 years in 2010–2014 while for other deaths it increased from 78.5 to 79.8 years over the same period. The overall mean age-standardised rate of fall mortality was 8.3 and 4.0 per 1 00 000 person-years in men and women, respectively, and increased by 1.7% per year in men and 0.8% per year in women during 1998–2014. Head injury and diseases of the circulatory system were recorded as contributing cause on 48.7% of fall deaths.

Conclusions There is an increasing trend of deaths due to falls in southern Sweden. Further investigations are required to explain this observation particularly among elderly men.

  • mortality
  • fall
  • descriptive epidemiology
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