Clinical Edge

Summaries of Must-Read Clinical Literature, Guidelines, and FDA Actions

Adverse Effects in Medical Treatment & Mortality

JAMA Netw Open; ePub 2019 Jan 18; Sunshine, et al

There was a modest reduction in the mortality rate associated with adverse effects of medical treatment (AEMT) in the US from 1990 to 2016 but an increase in mortality associated with advancing age and geographic variability. This according to a secondary analysis of the Global Burden of Disease, Injuries, and Risk Factors (GBD) study. The cohort study used 1990‒2016 data on mortality due to AEMT from the study. The primary outcome was mortality associated with AEMT. Among the findings:

  • From 1990‒2016, there were an estimated 123,603 deaths in the US with AEMT was the underlying cause.
  • Despite an overall increase in the number of deaths due to AEMT over time, the national age-standardized mortality rates due to AEMT decreased by 21.4%.
  • Men and women had similar rates of AEMT mortality.
  • Those aged ≥70 years had mortality rates nearly 20-fold greater compared with those aged 15 to 49 years.
  • Surgical and perioperative events were the most common subtype of AEMT.


Sunshine JE, Meo N, Kassebaum NJ, Collison ML, Mokdad AH, Naghavi M. Association of adverse effects of medical treatment with mortality in the United States: A secondary analysis of the Global Burden of Diseases, Injuries, and Risk Factors Study. JAMA Netw Open. 2019;2(1):e187041. doi:10.1001/jamanetworkopen.2018.7041.

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