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Med J Aust. 1994 Nov 21;161(10):600-3.

Trends in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease mortality in Australia.

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Respiratory Unit, Flinders Medical Centre, Adelaide, SA.



To examine trends in mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in the Australian population from 1964 to 1990.


Review of national data on deaths from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. We calculated direct annual age-standardised mortality rates for women and men (based on the 1976 age distribution of the Australian population), cumulative mortality rates and future mortality trends. Age-standardised mortality rates based on the world standard population were calculated and compared with mortality rates from lung cancer.


Male age-standardised mortality increased 1.6-fold from 1964 to 1970 and subsequently declined. In 1990 the male mortality rate was 5% less than in 1964. Female age-standardised mortality has shown a 2.6-fold increase from 1964 to 1990.


Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease seems likely to be a major health problem in Australia for many years to come. If present trends continue, female mortality from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease may equal male mortality by the middle of the next decade.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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