STUDY OBJECTIVE--The study aimed to analyse avoidable mortality in Lithuania as an index of the quality of health care and to assess trends in avoidable mortality from 1970-90. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS--All deaths of Lithuanian residents aged between 0 and 64 years between 1970 and 1990 were analysed. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Twenty seven per cent of all deaths in this age group were avoidable. Avoidable deaths were grouped into preventable and treatable ones. Treatable causes of death accounted for 54%, and preventable, 46% of avoidable mortality. Time trends showed that general mortality and mortality from avoidable causes of death in this age group were almost stable between 1970 and 1990. Mortality from treatable causes of death fell, while deaths from preventable causes increased. The results in the preventable group were greatly affected by deaths from malignant neoplasms of trachea, bronchus, and lungs. Differences were noted between the sexes in total mortality as well as in avoidable mortality. CONCLUSIONS--Avoidable causes of death are relatively common and, consequently, they are of practical importance for public health and studies of the health care quality in Lithuania. Reorganisation of health care is to be carried out and considerable emphasis will be placed on health education, promotion, and prevention, as primary prevention measures have not been effective thus far.
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