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Emerg (Tehran). 2015 Winter;3(1):16-21.

The Most Important Causes of Death in Iranian Population; a Retrospective Cohort Study.

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Sina Trauma and Surgery Research Center, Sina Hospital, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Occupational Health Engineering, Faculty of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Emergency Medicine, School of Medicine, Bushehr University of Medical Sciences, Bushehr, Iran.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.



Health care providers and health policy managers need updated and valid information regarding causes of death (COD) for development the health care facilities, directing primary prevention, assigning funds, and promoting public health. The major causes of death and its burden have not been yet appropriately identified in Iran. Although several studies had been carried out in this area, most of them were local or performed in the past years and need to be update. Thus, the present study aimed to address the major causes of death and its burden in Iran.


The present cross-sectional study was performed on graduate students and their families from February to March 2014. Through a two-stage random sampling procedure, data on 11315 subjects were obtained. The corresponding age of death, gender, and calendar year of death were inquired. All causes of death were categorized in nine groups including major cardiovascular disease, cancers, motor vehicle accidents, unintentional injuries, intentional injuries, stroke, lower respiratory infections, diabetes, and other reasons. Years of life lost (YLL) and person years of life lost were computed as the burden of diseases.


Totally, 11315 (50.4% male) subjects were studied. The results regarding death of relatives revealed that 360 deaths occurred (66.9% male). COD in 95 cases (26.4%) was cardiovascular diseases, 64 (17.8%) motor vehicle accidents, 41 (11.4%) cancers, 23 (6.4%) unintentional injuries, 22 (6.1%) intentional injuries, 10 (2.8%) stroke, 8 (2.2%) lower respiratory infections, 6 (1.8%) diabetes, and 91 (25.3%) other reasons. The average YLL due to all COD was 34.4±18.5. YLL for motor vehicle accidents and injuries (unintentional and intentional) were higher than cardiovascular diseases (p<0.001). In addition, person years of life lost for motor vehicle accidents were 2613.1 years. Cardiovascular diseases (2159.4 years), cancers (1321.0 years), and unintentional injuries (990.4 years) were in the next ranks.


Based on the findings, it seems that cardiovascular diseases, motor vehicle accidents, cancers, intentional and unintentional injuries are the major causes of death in Iranian population. Most of years of life lost were due to motor vehicle accidents, cardiovascular diseases and cancers, intentional and unintentional injuries, respectively.


Cause of death; cardiovascular diseases; life expectancy; mortality; traffic accidents


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