WHO’s on First and What’s Death Got to Do with It?

Did you know? The World Health Organization (WHO), an agency of the United Nations (UN), publishes the International Classification of Diseases currently in its tenth edition (ICD-10). This is a medical classification system for disease (and injury) of not only patients but also decedents. Further, the ICD coding system is the international standard created for the reporting of disease and health conditions allowing researchers, health care providers, policy makers, and insurers to analyze health trends and derive mortality statistics. The WHO World Health Statistics Annual Report compiles mortality statistics from more than 70 signatory countries further facilitating international comparisons and is available online. The international medical certificate of causes of death is also a product of WHO and the basis of the death certificates used by the signatories inclusive of the United States Standard Certificate of Death.

In the United States, the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) an arm of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) compiles and extracts data from death certificates used by the States based on the US Standard Certificate of Death. Nosologists, employed by the Division of Vital Statistics (DVS) under NCHS, are an integral part of this process with the creation of ICD codes  which are based on cause-of-death information entered by physicians on death certificates. Statistical and epidemiological data arising from further analysis of ICD codes have many uses on the city, county, state and national levels and are the source of the ranking for leading causes of natural death by NCHS.

Suffering from Acronym Delirium Disorder (ADD)? Ask a nosologist.

Let me illustrate further by introducing….Practice Pearls Quizlet! (AKA PPQ).

Just one question for today’s Quizlet.

  1. The following cause-of-death statement is acceptable. True or False?
Part I.



Approximate interval: Onset to death


Due to (or as a consequence of):

B.  AMI w/ CHF



Due to (or as a consequence of):




Due to (or as a consequence of):




Part II. Other significant conditions contributing to death but not resulting in the underlying cause given in Part I


Manner of Death



The answer will appear in the next entry.

For more information on WHO, ICD coding, NCHS mortality ranking, and nosology, consult Chapters 2 and 8 in Essentials of Death Reporting and Death Certification-Practical Applications for the Clinical Practitioner available on Amazon.com .

For a direct link to this book, click on: https://www.amazon.com/Essentials-Death-Reporting-Certification-Applications/dp/0998533408/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1

Stay tuned for your next dose of Practice Pearls!

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