Verbal autopsy (VA) studies are important for measuring cause-specific mortality in areas where medical certification of cause of death is uncommon.
This paper explores the effects of misclassification errors on the results of verbal autopsy studies, and recommends ways to take misclassification errors into account in the interpretation of results.
Mathematical formulae are derived for determining the size and direction of the error in cause-specific mortality estimates based on VA studies caused by misclassification.
The levels of sensitivity and specificity found in currently available validation studies for childhood VA are examined.
There can be substantial errors in the estimates of the cause-specific mortality fraction derived from VA studies.
The cause-specific mortality fraction itself has an important influence on the size of the error for given levels of sensitivity and specificity, and when the cause-specific mortality fraction is small, the size of the error depends more on specificity than on sensitivity.
Despite its drawbacks VA seems to be the most promising way of establishing cause of death when most deaths take place at home without medical attention.
However, more validation studies on standardized instruments are required in order to collect information about sensitivity and specificity and subsequently improve the design of the instrument. (...)
Mots-clés Pascal : Mortalité, Etiologie, Mort, Erreur, Classification, Autopsie, Entretien, Spécificité, Sensibilité, Epidémiologie, Evaluation performance, Méthodologie, Biais méthodologique, Homme, Mortalité spécifique
Mots-clés Pascal anglais : Mortality, Etiology, Death, Error, Classification, Autopsy, Interview, Specificity, Sensitivity, Epidemiology, Performance evaluation, Methodology, Methodological bias, Human
Notice produite par :
Inist-CNRS - Institut de l'Information Scientifique et Technique
Cote : 97-0534241
Code Inist : 002B30A01A1. Création : 13/02/1998.