Mortality Gap Widening for Schizophrenia, Bipolar Disorder

Mortality ratios nearly double the population average by 2006, gap widening over time

WEDNESDAY, Sept. 14 (HealthDay News) -- By 2006, the standardized mortality ratios for individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder was approximately double the population average, with the mortality gap increasing over time, according to a study published online Sept. 13 in BMJ.

Uy Hoang, M.P.H., from the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom, and colleagues investigated the mortality gap between individuals with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder and the general population, utilizing British hospital records and death registration data for patients diagnosed with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder who were discharged from inpatient care between 1999 and 2006. Follow-up continued for a year after discharge. Age-standardized mortality ratios, which compared the mortality of patients with schizophrenia or bipolar disorder with that of the general population, were the main outcome measures.

The investigators found that the psychiatric cohorts had approximately double the standardized mortality ratios of the population average by 2006, with the mortality gap becoming larger over time. The mortality ratios increased significantly from 1999 to 2006, from 1.6 to 2.2 for patients discharged with schizophrenia and from 1.3 to 1.9 for patients with bipolar disorders. Mortality ratios were higher for unnatural causes, but approximately three-quarters of all deaths were certified as natural. Increases in ratios for natural causes, particularly circulatory and respiratory diseases, accounted for the increase in all-cause mortality.

"There is a need for better understanding of the reasons for the persistent and increasing gap in mortality between discharged psychiatric patients and the general population," the authors write.

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