The Impact on National Death Index Ascertainment of Limiting Submissions to Social Security Administration Death Master File Matches in Epidemiologic Studies of Mortality

Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics, National Cancer Institute, 6120 Executive Blvd., Rockville, MD 20852, USA.
American journal of epidemiology (Impact Factor: 5.23). 03/2009; 169(7):901-8. DOI: 10.1093/aje/kwn404
Source: PubMed


Although many epidemiologists use the National Death Index (NDI) as the “gold standard” for ascertainment of US mortality,
high search costs per year and per subject for large cohorts warrant consideration of less costly alternatives. In this study,
for 1995–2001 deaths, the authors compared matches of a random sample of 11,968 National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP Diet
and Health Study subjects to the Social Security Administration's Death Master File (DMF) and commercial list updates (CLU)
with matches of those subjects to the NDI. They examined how varying the lower limits of estimated DMF match probabilities
(m scores of 0.60, 0.20, and 0.05) altered the benefits and costs of mortality ascertainment. Observed DMF/CLU ascertainment
of NDI-identified decedents increased from 89.8% to 95.1% as m decreased from 0.60 (stringent) to 0.20 (less stringent) and increased further to 96.4% as m decreased to 0.05 (least stringent). At these same cutpoints, the false-match probability increased from 0.4% of the sample
to 0.6% and then 2.3%. Limiting NDI cause-of-death searches to subjects found in DMF searches using less stringent match criteria,
further supplemented by CLU vital status updates, improves vital status assessment while increasing substantially the cost-effectiveness
of ascertaining mortality in large prospective cohort studies.

Full-text preview

Available from:
  • Source
    • "The US Department of Commerce’s National Technical Information Service verifies records of deaths in the US and administers the SSA Death Master File database to prevent identity fraud. The SSA Death Master File database is widely used for various diseases and population-level studies; its methods are well validated and it has an accuracy of 93-96% [18-20]. Mortality ascertainment was by “exact matches”, i.e., sharing locality, demographic factors and period of care, with subject record between the SSA Death Master File database and our Texas tuberculosis file, using previously described methods [6]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Tuberculosis is classified as either pulmonary or extra-pulmonary (EPTB). While much focus has been paid to pulmonary tuberculosis, EPTB has received scant attention. Moreover, EPTB is viewed as one wastebasket diagnosis, as "the other" which is not pulmonary. This is a retrospective cohort study of all patients treated for EPTB in the state of Texas between January 2000 and December 2005, who had no pulmonary disease. Clinical and epidemiological factors were abstracted from electronic records of the Report of Verified Case of Tuberculosis. The long-term outcome, which is death by December 2011, was established using the Social Security Administration Death Master File database. Survival in EPTB patients was compared to those with latent tuberculosis, as well as between different types of EPTB, using Cox proportional hazard models. A hybrid of the machine learning method of classification and regression tree analyses and standard regression models was used to identify high-order interactions and clinical factors predictive of long-term all-cause mortality. Four hundred and thirty eight patients met study criteria; the median study follow-up period for the cohort was 7.8 (inter-quartile range 6.0-10.1) years. The overall all-cause mortality rate was 0.025 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.021-0.030) per 100 person-year of follow-up. The significant predictors of poor long-term outcome were age (hazard ratio [HR] for each year of age-at-diagnosis was 1.05 [CI: 1.04-1.06], treatment duration, type of EPTB and HIV-infection (HR = 2.16; CI: 1.22, 3.83). Mortality in genitourinary tuberculosis was no different from latent tuberculosis, while meningitis had the poorest long-term outcome of 46.2%. Compared to meningitis the HR for death was 0.50 (CI: 0.27-0.91) for lymphatic disease, 0.42 (CI: 0.21-0.81) for bone/joint disease, and 0.59 (CI:0.27-1.31) for peritonitis. The relationship between mortality and therapy duration for each type of EPTB was a unique "V" shaped curve, with the lowest mortality observed at different therapy durations for each, beyond which mortality increased. EPTB is comprised of several different diseases with different outcomes and durations of therapy. The "V" shaped relationship between therapy duration and outcome leads to the hypothesis that longer duration of therapy may lead to higher patient mortality.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2014 · BMC Infectious Diseases
  • Source
    • "Cohort members were followed by linkage to the US Postal Service National Change of Address database, through processing of undeliverable mail, address change services, and direct contact with participants. Vital status was determined through linkage with the Social Security Administration Death Master File [6,7], and determinations of vital status and causes of death were made by using the National Death Index [8]. The primary endpoints for our analysis were esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), and gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA). "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Body mass index is known to be positively associated with an increased risk of adenocarcinomas of the esophagus, yet there is there limited evidence on whether physical activity or sedentary behavior affects risk of histology- and site-specific upper gastrointestinal cancers. We used the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study to assess these exposures in relation to esophageal adenocarcinoma (EA), esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA), and gastric non-cardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA). Self-administered questionnaires were used to elicit physical activity and sedentary behavior exposures at various age periods. Cohort members were followed via linkage to the US Postal Service National Change of Address database, the Social Security Administration Death Master File, and the National Death Index. Cox proportional hazards regression models were used to estimate hazard ratios (HR) and 95 percent confidence intervals (95%CI). During 4.8 million person years, there were a total of 215 incident ESCCs, 631 EAs, 453 GCAs, and 501 GNCAs for analysis. Strenuous physical activity in the last 12 months (HR >5 times/week vs. never =0.58, 95%CI: 0.39, 0.88) and typical physical activity and sports during ages 15-18 years (p for trend=0.01) were each inversely associated with GNCA risk. Increased sedentary behavior was inversely associated with EA (HR 5-6 hrs/day vs. <1 hr =0.57, 95%CI: 0.36, 0.92). There was no evidence that BMI was a confounder or effect modifier of any relationship. After adjustment for multiple testing, none of these results were deemed to be statistically significant at p<0.05. We find evidence for an inverse association between physical activity and GNCA risk. Associations between body mass index and adenocarcinomas of the esophagus do not appear to be related to physical activity and sedentary behavior.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · PLoS ONE
  • Source
    • "The validity of mortality records from the NDI is typically high, with true-positives achieved from social security numbers and the additional identifiers (used in the GSS matching process) reaching 99.8% [42]. Cause of death was determined by collapsing International Classification of Disease-9 records into 285 mutually exclusive categories using the Clinical Classification Software (CCS) [36]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Suppression of emotion has long been suspected to have a role in health, but empirical work has yielded mixed findings. We examined the association between emotion suppression and all-cause, cardiovascular, and cancer mortality over 12years of follow-up in a nationally representative US sample. We used the 2008 General Social Survey-National Death Index (GSS-NDI) cohort, which included an emotion suppression scale administered to 729 people in 1996. Prospective mortality follow up between 1996 and 2008 of 111 deaths (37 by cardiovascular disease, 34 by cancer) was evaluated using Cox proportional hazards models adjusted for age, gender, education, and minority race/ethnicity. The 75th vs. 25th percentile on the emotional suppression score was associated with hazard ratio (HR) of 1.35 (95% Confidence Interval [95% CI]=1.00, 1.82; P=.049) for all-cause mortality. For cancer and cardiovascular disease mortality, the HRs were 1.70 (95% CI=1.01, 2.88, P=.049) and 1.47 (95% CI=.87, 2.47, P=.148) respectively. Emotion suppression may convey risk for earlier death, including death from cancer. Further work is needed to better understand the biopsychosocial mechanisms for this risk, as well as the nature of associations between suppression and different forms of mortality.
    Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Journal of psychosomatic research
Show more