EUGLOREH project
THE STATUS OF HEALTH IN THE EUROPEAN UNION:
TOWARDS A HEALTHIER EUROPE

FULL REPORT

PART II - HEALTH CONDITIONS

7. ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES AND RELATED TIME TRENDS: PREVALENCE, INCIDENCE AND MORTALITY

7.3. Data analysis and presentation

7.3.2. Mortality - Fatal injuries

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7.3.2. Mortality - Fatal injuries

 

As demonstrated in the comprehensive view of injuries in Table 7.1, fatal injuries are just the tip of the iceberg, and a focus on mortality data alone can mask other developments such as the assumed rising number of disabled people and unchanged injury morbidity rates. Nevertheless, ICD based mortality data is the most frequently used indicator for injuries and has a high level of international comparability. Every two minutes someone dies of a fatal injury in the EU27. This adds up to a quarter of a million people each year. Injuries kill more children, adolescents and young adults (those aged between 1 and 44) than any other cause of death. When you combine all age groups, i.e. young through to old together, injuries represent the fourth major cause of death in the EU. Only cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diseases of the respiratory system claim more lives (Table 7.2. Leading cause of death per age group, EU27).

 

Table 7.2. Leading cause of death per age group, EU27

 

There is an enormous difference in the rate of fatal injuries throughout the EU. Based on the 2003-2005 figures for all ages, Lithuania has the highest injury fatality rate in the EU as a whole. The risk of dying from an injury in Lithuania is over five times higher than in the Netherlands, the country which has the lowest injury fatality rate for this time period. It is estimated that almost 100 000 lives could be saved each year if every country in the EU27 reduced its injury mortality rate to the same level as in the Netherlands (Figure 7.1).

 

Figure 7.1. Injury death rates and injury deaths per country, EU27

 

Distinguished by intent, unintentional injuries are responsible for about two thirds of injury deaths (68%) and intentional injuries for about one third (27%)  Suicides (24%), motor vehicle traffic accidents (21%) and falls (19%) are responsible for claiming more lives than any other type of injury, 5% are of undetermined intent  (Figure 7.2).

 

Figure 7.2. Fatal injuries by causes of death, all ages, EU27

 

When looking at gender and age, injuries affect males and females disproportionately. The risk of dying from an is almost twice as high for males (72 injury deaths per 100 000 males) than it is for females (35 per 100 000 females). As a result, 66% of EU injury fatalities are male, 34% female (Figure 7.3).

 

Figure 7.3. Injury deaths per 100 000 by sex and age group, EU27

 

Recent trends indicate that injury mortality in the 27 Member States of the European Union is on the decline. Over the last ten years (given data availability) the standardised death rate  (SDR) for all injuries in the EU experienced a reduction of 20%. This decrease can be reported for all injury areas except for home and leisure, mostly falls in the elderly. This shows that further efforts are required in elderly fall prevention in order to save more lives from injury deaths and to accelerate the overall decline of injury mortality (Figure 7.4).

 

Figure 7.4. Selected causes of fatal injuries, Standardised Death Rates (1995-2004, Index = 1995), EU27