death certificates


Summary: Official records of individual deaths including the cause of death certified by a physician, and any other required identifying information.

Top Publications

  1. Kim S, Shapiro Mendoza C, Chu S, Camperlengo L, Anderson R. Differentiating cause-of-death terminology for deaths coded as sudden infant death syndrome, accidental suffocation, and unknown cause: an investigation using US death certificates, 2003-2004. J Forensic Sci. 2012;57:364-9 pubmed publisher
    We compared written text on infant death certificates for deaths coded as sudden infant death syndrome (R95), unknown cause (R99), and accidental suffocation (W75)...
  2. Masocco M, Kodra Y, Vichi M, Conti S, Kanieff M, Pace M, et al. Mortality associated with neurofibromatosis type 1: a study based on Italian death certificates (1995-2006). Orphanet J Rare Dis. 2011;6:11 pubmed publisher
    ..NF1-related complications, or they may simply reflect a greater tendency for NF1 to be reported on the death certificates of young women...
  3. Autenrieth C, Baumert J, Baumeister S, Fischer B, Peters A, Doring A, et al. Association between domains of physical activity and all-cause, cardiovascular and cancer mortality. Eur J Epidemiol. 2011;26:91-9 pubmed publisher
    ..58-0.89) mortality. No clear effects were found for transportation activities. Our findings suggest that work, household, leisure time and total physical activity, but not transportation activity, may protect from premature mortality. ..
  4. Barbuscia D, Rodrigues Júnior A. [Completeness of data on live birth certificates and death certificates for early neonatal and fetal deaths in the Ribeirão Preto Region, São Paulo State, Brazil, 2000-2007]. Cad Saude Publica. 2011;27:1192-200 pubmed
    ..The use of reports on local investigation of deaths is recommended as a strategy to make mortality databases more complete. ..
  5. Lu T, Anderson R, Kawachi I. Trends in frequency of reporting improper diabetes-related cause-of-death statements on death certificates, 1985-2005: An algorithm to identify incorrect causal sequences. Am J Epidemiol. 2010;171:1069-78 pubmed publisher examine the changes in frequency of reporting improper diabetes-related cause-of-death statements on death certificates based on Multiple-Cause Mortality Files of the United States from 1985 to 2005...
  6. Agarwal R, Norton J, Konty K, Zimmerman R, Glover M, Lekiachvili A, et al. Overreporting of deaths from coronary heart disease in New York City hospitals, 2003. Prev Chronic Dis. 2010;7:A47 pubmed
    ..We sought to measure the accuracy of this rate by examining death certificates. We conducted a cross-sectional validation study by using a random sample of death certificates that ..
  7. Cohen J, Houttekier D, Onwuteaka Philipsen B, Miccinesi G, Addington Hall J, Kaasa S, et al. Which patients with cancer die at home? A study of six European countries using death certificate data. J Clin Oncol. 2010;28:2267-73 pubmed publisher
    ..Alongside cross-national differences, country-specific aspects need to be considered in the development of policy strategies facilitating home death. ..
  8. Johns L, Madsen A, Maduro G, Zimmerman R, Konty K, Begier E. A case study of the impact of inaccurate cause-of-death reporting on health disparity tracking: New York City premature cardiovascular mortality. Am J Public Health. 2013;103:733-9 pubmed publisher
    ..Efforts to reduce overreporting may increase the observed disparity, potentially obscuring any programmatic or policy-driven advances. ..
  9. Hinchliffe S, Abrams K, Lambert P. The impact of under and over-recording of cancer on death certificates in a competing risks analysis: a simulation study. Cancer Epidemiol. 2013;37:11-9 pubmed publisher
    ..However, it is well documented that cause of death information taken from death certificates is often lacking in accuracy and completeness...

More Information


  1. Cheng T, Chang C, Lin C, Ke D, Lu T, Kawachi I. State differences in the reporting of 'unspecified stroke' on death certificates: implications for improvement. Stroke. 2012;43:3336-42 pubmed publisher
    ..descriptive study to examine state differences in the reporting of "unspecified stroke" on death certificates in the United States...
  2. Aung E, Rao C, Walker S. Teaching cause-of-death certification: lessons from international experience. Postgrad Med J. 2010;86:143-52 pubmed publisher
    ..accuracy of cause-of-death statistics substantially depends on the quality of cause-of-death information in death certificates, primarily completed by medical doctors...
  3. Pandya H, Bose N, Shah R, Chaudhury N, Phatak A. Educational intervention to improve death certification at a teaching hospital. Natl Med J India. 2009;22:317-9 pubmed
    Information recorded in the 'cause of death' section of death certificates is an important source of mortality statistics. It is used for policy decisions, development of healthcare programmes and health research...
  4. Alfsen G, Lyckander L. Does quality control of death certificates in hospitals have an impact on cause of death statistics?. Tidsskr Nor Laegeforen. 2013;133:750-5 pubmed publisher
    The effects of inaccurate death certificates on cause of death statistics are uncertain. Since 2008, Akershus University Hospital has systematically corrected all death certificates...
  5. Onwuteaka Philipsen B, Rurup M, Pasman H, van der Heide A. The last phase of life: who requests and who receives euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide?. Med Care. 2010;48:596-603 pubmed publisher
    ..A cross-sectional study covering all Dutch health care settings. In 2005, of death certificates of deceased persons, a stratified sample was derived from the Netherlands central death registry...
  6. German R, Fink A, Heron M, Stewart S, Johnson C, Finch J, et al. The accuracy of cancer mortality statistics based on death certificates in the United States. Cancer Epidemiol. 2011;35:126-31 pubmed publisher
    ..cancer mortality statistics is the concordance between cancer defined as the underlying cause of death from death certificates and cancer diagnoses recorded in central, population-based cancer registries...
  7. Kugeler K, Griffith K, Gould L, Kochanek K, Delorey M, Biggerstaff B, et al. A review of death certificates listing Lyme disease as a cause of death in the United States. Clin Infect Dis. 2011;52:364-7 pubmed publisher
    ..Upon review, only 1 record was consistent with clinical manifestations of Lyme disease. This analysis indicates that Lyme disease is rare as a cause of death in the United States. ..
  8. Noymer A, Penner A, Saperstein A. Cause of death affects racial classification on death certificates. PLoS ONE. 2011;6:e15812 pubmed publisher
    ..This study examines whether cause of death influences racial classification on death certificates. We analyze the racial classifications from a nationally representative sample of death certificates and ..
  9. Roaeid R, Kablan A. Diabetes mortality and causes of death in Benghazi: a 5-year retrospective analysis of death certificates. East Mediterr Health J. 2010;16:65-9 pubmed
    A retrospective study of death certificates from 2000 to 2004 was made to estimate the contribution of diabetes to total mortality in Benghazi, Libyan Arab Jamahiriya, and to study the causes of death among diabetics (coded using the ..
  10. Horon I, Cheng D. Effectiveness of pregnancy check boxes on death certificates in identifying pregnancy-associated mortality. Public Health Rep. 2011;126:195-200 pubmed
    ..were pregnant at the time of death or within the year preceding death has historically been underreported on death certificates. As a result, the magnitude of the problem of pregnancy-associated mortality is underestimated...
  11. Godtman R, Holmberg E, Stranne J, Hugosson J. High accuracy of Swedish death certificates in men participating in screening for prostate cancer: a comparative study of official death certificates with a cause of death committee using a standardized algorithm. Scand J Urol Nephrol. 2011;45:226-32 pubmed publisher
    ..The aim of this study was therefore to investigate the accuracy of death certificates of men in the Göteborg Randomized Population-based Prostate Cancer Screening Trial...
  12. Halanych J, Shuaib F, Parmar G, Tanikella R, Howard V, Roth D, et al. Agreement on cause of death between proxies, death certificates, and clinician adjudicators in the Reasons for Geographic and Racial Differences in Stroke (REGARDS) study. Am J Epidemiol. 2011;173:1319-26 pubmed publisher
    b>Death certificates may lack accuracy and misclassify the cause of death. The validity of proxy-reported cause of death is not well established...
  13. Dallolio L, Franchino G, Pieri G, Raineri C, Fantini M. [Geographical and temporal trends in infant mortality in Italy and current limits of the routine data]. Epidemiol Prev. 2011;35:125-30 pubmed
    ..1998, following a change in legislation, individual matching of Certificates of Delivery Care (CedAP) and Death Certificates during the first year of life, at a national level, is not possible...
  14. McEwen L, Karter A, Curb J, Marrero D, Crosson J, Herman W. Temporal trends in recording of diabetes on death certificates: results from Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD). Diabetes Care. 2011;34:1529-33 pubmed publisher
    To determine the frequency that diabetes is reported on death certificates of decedents with known diabetes and describe trends in reporting over 8 years...
  15. Brenner H, Holleczek B. Deriving valid population-based cancer survival estimates in the presence of nonnegligible proportions of cancers notified by death certificates only. Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2011;20:2480-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Patients notified by death certificates only (DCO) are commonly excluded from such studies...
  16. Suzuki H, Fukunaga T, Tanifuji T, Abe N, Sadakane A, Nakamura Y, et al. Medicolegal death diagnosis in Tokyo Metropolis, Japan (2010): comparison of the results of death inquests by medical examiners and medical practitioners. Leg Med (Tokyo). 2011;13:273-9 pubmed publisher
    ..By using death certificates as inquest records in the Tokyo Metropolis, 2010, we made a comparison of the autopsy rates, causes of death ..
  17. Mahamud A, Marin M, Nickell S, Shoemaker T, Zhang J, Bialek S. Herpes zoster-related deaths in the United States: validity of death certificates and mortality rates, 1979-2007. Clin Infect Dis. 2012;55:960-6 pubmed publisher
    ..Herpes zoster (HZ) vaccine was recommended in the United States to reduce HZ-associated morbidity. Vaccination may reduce HZ-associated mortality, but no strategy exists to monitor mortality trends...
  18. Madsen A, Thihalolipavan S, Maduro G, Zimmerman R, Koppaka R, Li W, et al. An intervention to improve cause-of-death reporting in New York City hospitals, 2009-2010. Prev Chronic Dis. 2012;9:E157 pubmed publisher
    ..At intervention hospitals, the proportion of death certificates that reported heart disease as the cause of death decreased from 68.8% preintervention to 32...
  19. Abós R, Perez G, Rovira E, Canela J, Doménech J, Bardina J. [A pilot program to improve causes of death certification in primary care of Catalonia, Spain]. Gac Sanit. 2006;20:450-6 pubmed
    ..The final participation of the study population was 71% and the global program efficacy was 59%. The BEDTAR program improved the quality of certification and emphasized the relevancy and the applicability of the results. ..
  20. McEwen L, Kim C, Haan M, Ghosh D, Lantz P, Mangione C, et al. Diabetes reporting as a cause of death: results from the Translating Research Into Action for Diabetes (TRIAD) study. Diabetes Care. 2006;29:247-53 pubmed
    To determine the frequency of reporting of diabetes on death certificates of decedents with known diabetes, define factors associated with reporting of diabetes, and describe trends in reporting over time...
  21. Capocaccia R, Martina L, Inghelmann R, Crocetti E, De Lisi V, Falcini F, et al. A method to estimate mortality trends when death certificates are imprecisely coded: an application to cervical cancer in Italy. Int J Cancer. 2009;124:1200-5 pubmed publisher
    ..The same method can be used to assess mortality rates for every cancer entity identifiable in cancer registries data, not otherwise available from official death records. ..
  22. Goldacre M, Duncan M, Griffith M, Turner M. Trends in death certification for multiple sclerosis, motor neuron disease, Parkinson's disease and epilepsy in English populations 1979-2006. J Neurol. 2010;257:706-15 pubmed publisher
    The objective of this study is to report trends in mortality, as certified on death certificates, from multiple sclerosis (MS), motor neuron disease (MND), primary Parkinson's disease (PD), and epilepsy, analysing not only the underlying ..
  23. Shapiro Mendoza C, Kim S, Chu S, Kahn E, Anderson R. Using death certificates to characterize sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): opportunities and limitations. J Pediatr. 2010;156:38-43 pubmed publisher
    To examine cause-of-death terminology written on death certificates for sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) and to determine the adequacy of this text data in more fully describing circumstances potentially contributing to SIDS deaths.
  24. Hoyert D, Lima A. Querying of death certificates in the United States. Public Health Rep. 2005;120:288-93 pubmed
    Data from death certificates are often used in research; however, little has been published on the processing of vague or incomplete information reported on certificates...
  25. Myers K, Eden D. Death duties: workshop on what family physicians are expected to do when patients die. Can Fam Physician. 2007;53:1035-8 pubmed
    ..Results of a test given 3 months after the workshop showed substantial improvement in participants' knowledge of the coroner's role and of the process of death certification. ..
  26. Yeole B. Role of the cancer registries in determining cancer mortality in Asia?. Asian Pac J Cancer Prev. 2006;7:489-91 pubmed
    ..Due to several socio-economic constraints cause is not adequately noted in the death certificates. Sample registration system practice in India helps in this but for correlating with cancer registry data ..
  27. Malmström K, Kaila M, Kajosaari M, Syvänen P, Juntunen Backman K. Fatal asthma in Finnish children and adolescents 1976-1998: validity of death certificates and a clinical description. Pediatr Pulmonol. 2007;42:210-5 pubmed
    ..All death certificates where asthma or related respiratory tract disease was coded as the underlying cause of death were reviewed ..
  28. Rao C, Yang G, Hu J, Ma J, Xia W, Lopez A. Validation of cause-of-death statistics in urban China. Int J Epidemiol. 2007;36:642-51 pubmed
    ..Periodic assessments of the quality of cause of death statistics will enhance their usability for health policy and epidemiological research. ..
  29. Selinger C, Ellis R, Harrington M. A good death certificate: improved performance by simple educational measures. Postgrad Med J. 2007;83:285-6 pubmed
    The initial aim of this audit was to determine whether information on death certificates is correct and all legal requirements are met...
  30. Perez Gomez B, Aragones N, Pollan M, Suárez B, Lope V, Llácer A, et al. Accuracy of cancer death certificates in Spain: a summary of available information. Gac Sanit. 2006;20 Suppl 3:42-51 pubmed
    ..Quality data on death certificates for all tumors and for each specific cancer location were summarized, and all main cancer sites were ..
  31. Cheng W, Wingard D, Kritz Silverstein D, Barrett Connor E. Sensitivity and specificity of death certificates for diabetes: as good as it gets?. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:279-84 pubmed
    ..S adults, which may be an underestimate because of under-reporting on death certificates. In this study we examined death certificate sensitivity and specificity for diabetes, as well as the ..
  32. McEwen L, Pomeroy N, Onyemere K, Herman W. Are primary care physicians more likely to record diabetes on death certificates?. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:508-10 pubmed
  33. Evans J, Barnett K, McMurdo M, Morris A. Reporting of diabetes on death certificates of 1872 people with type 2 diabetes in Tayside, Scotland. Eur J Public Health. 2008;18:201-3 pubmed
    It has been suggested that diabetes is under-recorded on death certificates. We examined the death certificates of 1,872 people with type 2 diabetes in Tayside, Scotland, to determine how frequently diabetes was recorded...
  34. Wier L, Gjelsvik A. Diabetes mortality in Rhode Island: comparing underlying cause of death versus any listed cause of death. Med Health R I. 2008;91:86-7 pubmed
  35. Lydon Rochelle M, Cardenas V, Nelson J, Tomashek K, Mueller B, Easterling T. Validity of maternal and perinatal risk factors reported on fetal death certificates. Am J Public Health. 2005;95:1948-51 pubmed estimate the accuracy, relative to maternal medical records, of perinatal risk factors recorded on fetal death certificates. We conducted a validation study of fetal death certificates among women who experienced fetal deaths ..
  36. Lu T, Walker S, Johansson L, Huang C. An international comparison study indicated physicians' habits in reporting diabetes in part I of death certificate affected reported national diabetes mortality. J Clin Epidemiol. 2005;58:1150-7 pubmed
    ..Differences in the reporting of diabetes in part I of the death certificate among physicians in Taiwan, Australia, and Sweden was one of the factors that affected differing reported diabetes mortality in Taiwan, Australia, and Sweden. ..
  37. Lakkireddy D, Basarakodu K, Vacek J, Kondur A, Ramachandruni S, Esterbrooks D, et al. Improving death certificate completion: a trial of two training interventions. J Gen Intern Med. 2007;22:544-8 pubmed
    ..Resident physician accuracy in completing death certificates is poor...
  38. Pritt B, Hardin N, Richmond J, Shapiro S. Death certification errors at an academic institution. Arch Pathol Lab Med. 2005;129:1476-9 pubmed
    ..Two pathologists used these summaries to create mock death certificates. The original and mock death certificates were then compared to identify errors in the original certificate...
  39. Fingerhut L, Warner M. The ICD-10 injury mortality diagnosis matrix. Inj Prev. 2006;12:24-9 pubmed
    ..The injury mortality diagnosis matrix will facilitate analysis as it is a useful tool for summarizing diagnosis data associated with injury deaths. ..
  40. Wysowski D, Nourjah P. Deaths attributed to X-ray contrast media on U.S. death certificates. AJR Am J Roentgenol. 2006;186:613-5 pubmed
    ..S. death certificates and to attempt to assess the comparative safety of commonly used diagnostic X-ray contrast agents using ..
  41. Neutel C, Bishop M, Harper S, Gaudette L. Proportion of cancer deaths occurring in hospital, Canada, 1994-2000. Can J Public Health. 2005;96:264-8 pubmed
    ..were: 1) all hospital separations (HS) with a primary diagnosis of cancer and discharge as 'dead'; 2) all death certificates (DC) with cancer as underlying cause of death...
  42. McAllum C, St George I, White G. Death certification and doctors' dilemmas: a qualitative study of GPs' perspectives. Br J Gen Pract. 2005;55:677-83 pubmed
    ..To explore what factors influence GPs as they complete death certificates. Focus groups held by teleconference with 16 GPs. New Zealand general practice...
  43. Thomason M, Biddulph J, Cull C, Holman R. Reporting of diabetes on death certificates using data from the UK Prospective Diabetes Study. Diabet Med. 2005;22:1031-6 pubmed, date of death, underlying cause of death and social class on the frequency of reporting diabetes on death certificates in known cases of diabetes...
  44. Lienhart A, Auroy Y, Pequignot F, Benhamou D, Warszawski J, Bovet M, et al. Survey of anesthesia-related mortality in France. Anesthesiology. 2006;105:1087-97 pubmed
    ..b>Death certificates from the French national mortality database were selected from the International Classification of Diseases, ..
  45. Das C. Death certificates in Germany, England, The Netherlands, Belgium and the USA. Eur J Health Law. 2005;12:193-211 pubmed
    Every country has its own legal system regarding post mortem examinations and death certificates. The authorities want to know the cause and the manner of death of their citizens and especially whether someone is responsible for the death ..
  46. Villar J, Pérez Méndez L. Evaluating an educational intervention to improve the accuracy of death certification among trainees from various specialties. BMC Health Serv Res. 2007;7:183 pubmed
    ..We evaluated the rate of errors in the completion of death certificates among medical residents from various specialties, before and after an educational intervention which was ..
  47. Doria Rose V, Marcus P. Death certificates provide an adequate source of cause of death information when evaluating lung cancer mortality: an example from the Mayo Lung Project. Lung Cancer. 2009;63:295-300 pubmed publisher
    To assess the accuracy of death certificates in assigning lung cancer as the underlying cause of death, death certificate data were compared to mortality review committee-determined causes of death among participants in the Mayo Lung ..
  48. Papapetropoulos S, Villar J, Gonzalez J, Mash D. Disparities in death certificates of Parkinson's disease patients: a report from a population of brain donors. Mov Disord. 2006;21:1791-2; author reply 1792 pubmed
  49. Alperovitch A, Bertrand M, Jougla E, Vidal J, Ducimetiere P, Helmer C, et al. Do we really know the cause of death of the very old? Comparison between official mortality statistics and cohort study classification. Eur J Epidemiol. 2009;24:669-75 pubmed publisher
    ..85, 95% CI = 1.09-3.14). These findings raise questions about the validity of national mortality registers in very old persons. Disease-specific causes of death, especially vascular diseases, could be overestimated in this age group. ..
  50. Redelings M, Wise M, Sorvillo F. Using multiple cause-of-death data to investigate associations and causality between conditions listed on the death certificate. Am J Epidemiol. 2007;166:104-8 pubmed
    ..In this paper, the authors discuss methods used in studying associations between reported causes of death and in investigating commonly reported causal pathways between events or conditions listed on the death certificate. ..
  51. Bilsen J, Vander Stichele R, Broeckaert B, Mortier F, Deliens L. Changes in medical end-of-life practices during the legalization process of euthanasia in Belgium. Soc Sci Med. 2007;65:803-8 pubmed
  52. Keirns C, Carr B. From the emergency department to vital statistics: cause of death uncertain. Acad Emerg Med. 2008;15:768-75 pubmed publisher
  53. Brenner H, Hakulinen T. Implications of incomplete registration of deaths on long-term survival estimates from population-based cancer registries. Int J Cancer. 2009;125:432-7 pubmed publisher
    ..For that purpose, we simulated underascertainment of deaths through linkage failure of registry data with death certificates with probabilities between 0...