Reporting of Aspiration Pneumonia or Choking as a Cause of Death in Patients Who Died With Stroke
Background and Purpose—It is not known how many stroke patients die from fatal pulmonary complications such as aspiration pneumonia (AP) and choking each year in the United States. This study aimed to determine the frequency of reporting of AP or choking as a cause of death on death certificates with mention of stroke in the United States as a proxy measure of the incidence of dying from AP or choking among patients with stroke.
Methods—We used multiple-cause mortality data for the years 2001 to 2010 to identify death certificates with mention of stroke (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision code I60–I69), AP (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision code J69), and choking (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision code W78–W80) for analysis.
Results—Of 2424 379 death certificates with mention of stroke in the United States between 2001 and 2010, 5.1% (n=124 503) reported AP as a cause of death, and 1.5% (n=36 997) reported choking as a cause of death. However, if we confined the analysis to autopsy-confirmed cases, the frequency decreased to 1.3% (555/42 732) and 1.3% (541/42 732), respectively. The adjusted odds ratios of reporting AP or choking as a cause of death were higher among men, increased with age, and were higher among decedents who died in a nursing home/long-term care.
Conclusions—The estimated incidence of dying from AP and choking among patients who died with stroke was 5% (~12 000 deaths per year) and 1% (~3700 deaths per year) according to information reported on death certificates. Efforts are needed to reduce the number of deaths from these 2 preventable complications.
- Received December 31, 2012.
- Revision received January 14, 2013.
- Accepted January 15, 2013.
- © 2013 American Heart Association, Inc.