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J R Stat Soc Ser A Stat Soc. 2010 Apr;173(2):331-349.

Estimating stroke-free and total life expectancy in the presence of non-ignorable missing values.

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Medical Research Council Biostatistics Unit Cambridge, UK.


A continuous time three-state model with time-dependent transition intensities is formulated to describe transitions between healthy and unhealthy states before death. By using time continuously, known death times can be taken into account. To deal with possible non-ignorable missing states, a selection model is proposed for the joint distribution of both the state and whether or not the state is observed. To estimate total life expectancy and its subdivision into life expectancy in health and ill health, the three-state model is extrapolated beyond the follow-up of the study. Estimation of life expectancies is illustrated by analysing data from a longitudinal study of aging where individuals are in a state of ill health if they have ever experienced a stroke. Results for the selection model are compared with results for a model where states are assumed to be missing at random and with results for a model that ignores missing states.

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