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Death: Clostridium

Volume 491: debated on Wednesday 22 April 2009

To ask the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster how many deaths were caused by clostridium difficile infection in patients aged (a) under 65 years and (b) 65 years and over in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. (269146)

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Karen Dunnell, dated 22 April 2009:

As National Statistician I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many deaths were caused by Clostridium difficile infection in patients aged (a) under 65 years and (b) 65 years and over in each of the last 10 years. (269146)

The attached table provides the number of deaths where Clostridium difficile was recorded as the underlying cause of death for persons aged (a) under 65 years and (b) 65 years and over, in England and Wales, for 1999 and 2001 to 2007 (the latest year available). Figures for 1998 and 2000 are not available.

Although Clostridium difficile is defined by the Health Protection Agency as a healthcare associated infection, it is not possible to state whether the deceased was a patient at the time of death, or where the infection was acquired.

Table 1. Deaths with an underlying cause of Clostridium difficile1, England and Wales2,1999 and 2001-073, 4

Deaths (persons)

Under 65 years

65 years and over

1999

18

513

2001

17

676

2002

19

735

2003

29

939

2004

35

1,194

2005

62

2,001

2006

93

3,397

2007

126

3,930

1 Identified using the methodology described in Office for National Statistics: Report: Deaths involving Clostridium difficile: England and Wales, 2001-2005. Health Statistics Quarterly 33, 71-75.

2 Figures for England and Wales include deaths of non-residents.

3 All deaths in England and Wales are coded by the Office for National Statistics according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). The Tenth revision (ICD-10) has been used since 2001.

In the Ninth revision of the ICD (ICD-9) there are no specific codes that would allow deaths mentioning Clostridium difficile to be easily identified. Figures for 1998 and 2000 are therefore not available as ICD-9 was used in these years. Deaths registered in 1999 were coded to both ICD-9 and ICD-10 as part of a special study to compare the two ICD revisions, and have therefore been used to give an additional year of data on deaths involving Clostridium difficile.

4 Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.