STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to analyse trends in "avoidable" mortality in Sweden, and to contribute to the methodology of avoidable mortality as an index of the quality of care. SETTING AND PARTICIPANTS--All deaths of Swedish citizens and other residents in Sweden during the period 1974-1985 were analysed as to causes of death between ages 0 and 64 years. MEASUREMENTS AND MAIN RESULTS--Total mortality delined during the 12 year period studied. Avoidable causes of death were grouped into preventable and treatable causes according to Rutstein's classification. In men, treatable diseases declined more during the 12 year period studied than did total mortality. When lung cancer was excluded, preventable diseases declined for both sexes. Certain avoidable causes of death decreased compared to total mortality, while some others showed an increase. The death rate increased for some avoidable causes of death such as pneumonia other than viral. In women death rates increased for chronic bronchitis and emphysema as well as for malignant neoplasms of trachea, bronchus, and lung, while for boys aged 1-14 years bronchitis NOS and asthma showed an increasing death rate. CONCLUSIONS--The study indicates that the avoidable mortality method is sensitive enough to describe important changes in the mortality pattern. The explicit definition of treatable and preventable causes of death constitutes a methodological development in epidemiological analysis of this type. Further studies on the quality of care should combine this method with other methods examining the structure and process of health care.
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