Among patients who have been admitted to a public hospital, patients with mental disorders have a higher mortality rate than patients without a mental disorder, according to research published in the Journal of Psychiatric Research.
The study included data from 15,356 patients with a mental disorder and 15,356 matched controls, all of whom had been admitted to an Australian regional public hospital between 1996 and 2010. Researchers examined links between hospital data and the National Death Index to determine mortality outcomes. During the study period, 25.2% of patients with mental disorders died, compared with 17.3% of patients without mental disorders. After adjusting for confounders, the odds ratio for death among patients with mental disorder was 2.20, and the mean age at death was 4.6 years younger than for the control group. Additionally, researchers found that being indigenous, not partnered, or having multiple comorbidities were also risk factors.
The study was limited by an inability to adjust for the severity of comorbidities and by the possibility that some participants in the control group had mental illnesses. The dataset also lacked information on lifestyle factors such as poor diet or substance use.
The findings show that patients with mental disorders who have a history of public hospital admission have higher mortality rates than those without mental disorders. Researchers state, “This gap in life expectancy mandates increased attention, by clinicians and health services alike, to preventable causes of death in people with mental illness.”
Karim RS, Kwan MM, Finlay AJ, et al. Mortality in hospital patients with and without mental disorders: a data-linkage cohort study. J Psychiatr Res. 2019;111:104-109.