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Perinatal mortality rates: Adjusting for risk factor profile is essential

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Judith Rankin, Professor Mark PearceORCiD, Dr Ruth Bell, Dr Svetlana Glinianaia, Professor Louise Parker


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Perinatal mortality has long been used as a comparative measure of health and health care across regions, countries and over time. Recently, the validity of the measure has been questioned. Using data from a population-based survey of late fetal losses, stillbirths and infant deaths, the Northern Perinatal Mortality Survey we demonstrate the potential for inaccuracy of crude measures of perinatal mortality. Such measures are generally not adjusted for characteristics of the population (e.g. birthweight, maternal age, plurality, gender) which are known to affect risk of adverse pregnancy outcome when comparing temporal or geographical trends. We also show the effect of standardising for these factors on the most frequent causes of perinatal death. We recommend the construction of a 'standard birth population' for calculating standardised perinatal mortality rates that would improve direct comparisons between populations.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rankin JM, Pearce MS, Bell R, Glinianaia SV, Parker L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Paediatric and Perinatal Epidemiology

Year: 2005

Volume: 19

Issue: 1

Pages: 56-58

Print publication date: 01/01/2005

ISSN (print): 0269-5022

ISSN (electronic): 1365-3016

Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


DOI: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2004.00625.x

PubMed id: 15670110


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