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1.  Mortality in Dutch hospitals: Trends in time, place and cause of death after admission for myocardial infarction and stroke. An observational study 
Background
Patterns in time, place and cause of death can have an important impact on calculated hospital mortality rates. Objective is to quantify these patterns following myocardial infarction and stroke admissions in Dutch hospitals during the period 1996–2003, and to compare trends in the commonly used 30-day in-hospital mortality rates with other types of mortality rates which use more extensive follow-up in time and place of death.
Methods
Discharge data for all Dutch admissions for index conditions (1996–2003) were linked to the death certification registry. Then, mortality rates within the first 30, 90 and 365 days following admissions were analyzed for deaths occurring within and outside hospitals.
Results
Most deaths within a year after admission occurred within 30 days (60–70%). No significant trends in this distribution of deaths over time were observed. Significant trends in the distribution over place of death were observed for both conditions. For myocardial infarction, the proportion of deaths after transfer to another hospital has doubled from 1996–2003. For stroke a significant rise of the proportion of deaths outside hospital was found. For MI the proportion of deaths attributed to a circulatory disease has significantly fallen ovtime. Seven types of hospital mortality indicators, different in scope and observation period, all show a drop of hospital mortality for both MI and stroke over the period 1996–2003. For stroke the observed absolute reduction in death rate increases for the first year after admission, for MI the observed drop in 365-day overall mortality almost equals the observed drop in 30-day in hospital mortality over 1996–2003.
Conclusion
Changes in the timing, place and causes of death following admissions for myocardial infarction and stroke have important implications for the definitions of in-hospital and post-admission mortality rates as measures of hospital performance. Although necessary for understanding mortality patterns over time, including within mortality rates deaths which occur outside hospitals and after longer periods following index admissions remain debatable and may not reflect actual hospital performance but probably mirrors transfer, efficiency, and other health care policies.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-8-52
PMCID: PMC2311302  PMID: 18318897
2.  Acute myocardial infarction incidence and hospital mortality: routinely collected national data versus linkage of national registers 
European Journal of Epidemiology  2007;22(11):755-762.
Background and Objective
To compare levels of and trends in incidence and hospital mortality of first acute myocardial infarction (AMI) based on routinely collected hospital morbidity data and on linked registers. Cases taken from routine hospital data are a mix of patients with recurrent and first events, and double counting occurs when cases are admitted for an event several times during 1 year. By linkage of registers, recurrent events and double counts can be excluded.
Study Design and Setting
In 1995 and 2000, 28,733 and 25,864 admissions for AMI were registered in the Dutch national hospital discharge register. Linkage with the population register yielded 21,565 patients with a first AMI in 1995 and 20,414 in 2000.
Results
In 1995 and 2000, the incidence based on the hospital register was higher than based on the linked registers in men (22% and 23% higher) and women (18% and 20% higher). In both years, hospital mortality based on the hospital register and on linked registers was similar. The decline in incidence between 1995 and 2000 was comparable whether based on standard hospital register data or linked data (18% and 20% in men, 15% and 17% in women). Similarly, the decline in hospital mortality was comparable using either approach (11% and 9% in both men and women).
Conclusion
Although the incidence based on routine hospital data overestimates the actual incidence of first AMI based on linked registers, hospital mortality and trends in incidence and hospital mortality are not changed by excluding recurrent events and double counts. Since trends in incidence and hospital mortality of AMI are often based on national routinely collected data, it is reassuring that our results indicate that findings from such studies are indeed valid and not biased because of recurrent events and double counts.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s10654-007-9174-6) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
doi:10.1007/s10654-007-9174-6
PMCID: PMC2071965  PMID: 17828438
Acute myocardial infarction; Medical record linkage; Registries; Incidence; Epidemiology; Hospital admissions

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