On November 18, 2016, the CDC published a report comparing the rate of potentially preventable deaths in the United States between 2010 in 2014. The report found that death rates by specific causes vary across the 50 states and the District of Columbia. The CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System data to provide national and state-specific estimates of potentially preventable deaths among the five leading causes of death in 2014 and compared these estimates with estimates previously published for 2010.
Compared with 2010, the estimated number of potentially preventable deaths changed among the five leading causes in the United States. Cancer deaths decreased 25% (from 84,443 to 63,209). Stroke deaths decreased 11% (from 16,973 to 15,175). Heart disease deaths decreased 4% (from 91,757 to 87,950). Chronic lower respiratory disease (CLRD) (e.g., asthma, bronchitis, and emphysema) deaths increased 1% (from 28,831 to 29,232). Deaths from unintentional injuries increased 23% (from 36,836 to 45,331).
To determine significant changes in the number of potentially preventable deaths for the five leading causes of death in the United States, the CDC analyzed National Vital Statistics System mortality data from 2014 using the same analytic model presented in the original report that used 2010 data as benchmarks. The number of potentially preventable deaths per year per state in persons under 80 years old was determined by comparing the number of expected deaths (based on the cause-specific average death rate of the three states with the lowest 2008–2010 average rate by age groups) with the number of observed deaths in 2010 and 2014.
The study defined premature death as a death that occurred in a person under 80 years of age, based on the average life expectancy for the total U.S. population, which was nearly 79 years in 2010. Analysis was restricted to deaths with an underlying cause of death among the five leading causes, based on International Classification of Diseases. The five leading causes of death represented 63% of all deaths in 2014, a decrease of 2.3% compared with 2010. In 2014 the next five most frequent causes accounted for approximately 12% of deaths.
The five leading causes of death for persons under 80 years old in 2014 (diseases of the heart, malignancies [cancer], cerebrovascular diseases [stroke], chronic lower respiratory diseases [CLRD], and unintentional injuries [accidents]) represent 63% of deaths from all causes. The estimated number of potentially preventable deaths and the proportion preventable among the five leading causes of death in persons under 80 years old were 87,950 for diseases of the heart (30% preventable); 63,209 for cancer (15% preventable); 45,331 for unintentional injuries (43% preventable); 29,232 for CLRD (36% preventable); and 15,175 for stroke (28% preventable).
Potentially preventable deaths from cancer declined 25% from 2010 to 2014. This decline appears to be driven by a 12% decrease in the age-adjusted death rate from lung cancer from 2010 and 2014. Decreases in age-adjusted death rates from cancer were observed across all U.S. states, except the District of Columbia. In both 2010 and 2014 the Southeast had the highest number of potentially preventable deaths for each of the five leading causes of death. In 2014, the Northwest had the lowest number of potentially preventable deaths for each of the five leading causes of death except deaths from CLRD and unintentional injuries, where the lowest number occurred in New York and New Jersey.
Consistent with increases in population since 2010, particularly among older age groups, the number of observed deaths increased for each of the five leading causes of deaths in 2014, and age-adjusted death rates declined during 2010–2014 for each category except unintentional injuries. Specifically, from 2010 to 2014, age-adjusted death rates per 100,000 population for heart disease declined 6.8% from 179.1 to 167.0; for cancer, from 172.8 to 161.2 (6.7% decrease); for stroke, from 39.1 to 36.5 (6.6% decrease); and for CLRD, from 42.2 to 40.5 (4.0% decrease). For unintentional injuries, age-adjusted death rates increased 6.6%, from 38.0 to 40.5. Among subcategories of unintentional injury deaths for all ages, age-adjusted death rates for poisonings increased 25%, and falls increased by 12%. Prescription drug and illicit drug overdose was a major contributor to the increase in poisonings during 2010 to 2014.
See the CDC Report
See also Medical Law Perspectives, September 2016 Report: Stroke: Challenges, Risks, and Liability Issues
See also Medical Law Perspectives, April 2015 Report: COPD Liability Risks: When Taking a Breath Is Not Easy
See also Medical Law Perspectives, February 2015 Report: Mending a Broken Heart: Malpractice Risks in Diagnosing and Treating Heart Disease
See also Medical Law Perspectives, January 2014 Report: Prescription Painkillers: Risks for Patients, Pharmacists, and Physicians
See also Medical Law Perspectives, October 2012 Report: Mistakes in Diagnosing Cancer: Liability Concerns for Misdiagnosis, Failure to Diagnose, and Delayed Diagnosis
See the Medical Law Perspectives July 17, 2015, Blog: Blaming the Victim: Challenges of COPD Treatment and Subsequent Lawsuits
See the Medical Law Perspectives June 29, 2015, Blog: Failure to Diagnose Cancer Claims Face Hurdles, Especially in New York
See the Medical Law Perspectives February 16, 2015, Blog: Pharmacy Owes Duty To Patient Not To Fill Excessive Prescriptions for Opioids
See the Medical Law Perspectives October 8, 2014, Blog: Opioid Pain Pill Abusers Switch to Heroin; Heroin Overdose Deaths Double