Romania “boasts” the highest shares of treatable deaths in the EU

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The proportions of potentially avoidable deaths through timely and effective health care interventions, i.e. treatable deaths, among all deaths of persons aged less than 75 in 2016 vary between EU Member States.
The highest shares of treatable deaths were registered in Romania (31.9%) and Slovakia (30.8%), followed by Lithuania (30.1%), Malta (30.0%), Bulgaria and Latvia (both 29.7%). In contrast, the share was lowest in France (19.3%), ahead of Belgium (20.5%), Denmark (21.0%) and the Netherlands (21.7%), reads the latest Eurostat report on avoidable deaths.

In the European Union (EU), about 1.7 million persons aged less than 75 died in 2016. Among them, around 1.2 million deaths could be considered as premature according to the recently developed Eurostat-OECD list of avoidable mortality. Out of those, 741 000 preventable deaths could have been avoided through effective public health and primary prevention interventions, and 422 000 treatable deaths through timely and effective health care interventions. Heart attacks (174 000 deaths), cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung (168 000 deaths) and strokes (87 000) accounted together for over a third (37%) of total avoidable causes of death of people aged less than 75. Compared to 2011, avoidable deaths as a share of total deaths decreased by 1.7 percentage points, from 69.7% of total deaths in 2011 to 68.0% in 2016.

Largest shares of preventable deaths in Slovenia and Hungary, lowest in Bulgaria

The proportions of potentially avoidable deaths through effective public health and primary prevention interventions, i.e. preventable deaths, among all deaths of persons aged less than 75 in 2016 vary considerably between EU Member States.
The highest shares of preventable deaths were registered in Slovenia (53.5%) and Hungary (51.7%), followed by Estonia (50.0%), Lithuania (49.8%), Austria (49.1%) and Latvia (48.9%). In contrast, the share was lowest in Bulgaria (35.4%), ahead of Cyprus (39.2%), Malta (39.9%), Italy and Poland (both 40.8%).

Heart and lung diseases main categories of avoidable death

In the EU, heart attacks (174 000 avoidable deaths, or 15% of total avoidable deaths of persons aged less than 75), cancers of the trachea, bronchus and lung (168 000, 14%) and strokes (87 000, 7%) accounted for over a third of potentially avoidable deaths in 2016.
They were followed by alcohol related diseases (79 000, 7%), colorectal cancers (67 000, 6%), breast cancers and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorders (both 50 000, 4%), accidental injuries (48 000, 4%) and suicides (44 000, 4%).

Avoidable causes of mortality are defined as follows:

  • Preventable mortality: Causes of death that can be mainly avoided through effective public health and primary prevention interventions (i.e. before the onset of diseases/injuries, to reduce incidence).
  • Treatable (or amenable) mortality: Causes of death that can be mainly avoided through timely and effective health care interventions, including secondary prevention and treatment (i.e. after the onset of diseases, to reduce case-fatality).

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