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Pneumonia is responsible for approximately 230,000 deaths in Europe, annually. Comprehensive and comparable reports on pneumonia mortality trends across the European Union (EU) are lacking.
A temporal analysis of national mortality statistics to compare trends in pneumonia age-standardised death rates (ASDR) of EU countries between 2001 and 2014 was performed. International Classification of Diseases version 10 (ICD-10) codes were used to extract data from the World Health Organisation European Detailed Mortality Database and trends were analysed using Joinpoint regression.
Median pneumonia mortality across the EU for the last recorded observation was 19.8 / 100,000 and 6.9 / 100,000 for males and females, respectively. Mortality was higher in males across all EU countries, most notably in Estonia and Lithuania where the ratio of male to female ASDR was 4.0 and 3.7, respectively. Gender mortality differences were lowest in the UK and Demark with ASDR ratios of 1.1 and 1.5, respectively. Pneumonia mortality across all countries decreased by a median of 31.0% over the observation period. Countries that demonstrated an increase in pneumonia mortality were Poland (males + 33.1%, females + 10.2%), and Lithuania (males + 6.0%).
Mortality from pneumonia is improving in most EU countries, however substantial variation in trends remains between countries and between genders.