I have been asked to reply.
The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.
Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated March 2010:
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what the average age of mortality was for people diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy in the West Midlands Strategic Health Authority area in the last 12 months. (322490)
The information collected at death registration provides statistics on deaths which were caused by specific conditions, or to which specific conditions were known to have contributed. It is not possible to obtain from these mortality statistics any information about all persons diagnosed with, or receiving treatment for, a specific condition.
Internationally accepted guidance from the World Health Organisation requires only those conditions that contributed directly to the death to be recorded on the death certificate. Medical practitioners and coroners are not supposed to record all of the diseases or conditions present at or before death, and whether a condition contributed is a matter for their clinical judgement.
Deaths are coded to an underlying cause of death using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10). The codes in ICD-10 do not allow the identification of deaths specifically with a cause of Duchenne muscular dystrophy. The figure given below is therefore based on deaths from all types of muscular dystrophy, including Duchenne.
The average (mean) age at death for people with an underlying cause of death of muscular dystrophy1 in West Midlands strategic health authority was 48 years in 2008 (the latest year available)2, 3.
1 Deaths were identified using the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code G71.0.
2 Based on boundaries as of February 2010.
3 Figures are based on deaths registered in 2008.