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Potential gains in life expectancy from reducing amenable mortality among people diagnosed with serious mental illness in the United Kingdom

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Alex Dregan, Ann McNeill, Fiona Gaughran, Peter B Jones, Anna Bazley, Sean Cross, Kate Lillywhite, David Armstrong, Shubulade Smith, David P J Osborn, Robert Stewart, Til Wykes, Matthew Hotopf

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0230674
Pages (from-to)e0230674
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2020

King's Authors


BACKGROUND: To estimate the potential gain in life expectancy from addressing modifiable risk factors for all-cause mortality (excluding suicide and deaths from accidents or violence) across specific serious mental illness (SMI) subgroups, namely schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorders, and bipolar disorders in a Western population.

METHODS: We have used relative risks from recent meta-analyses to estimate the population attribution fraction (PAF) due to specific modifiable risk factors known to be associated with all-cause mortality within SMI. The potential gain in life expectancy at birth, age 50 and age 65 years were assessed by estimating the combined effect of modifiable risk factors from different contextual levels (behavioural, healthcare, social) and accounting for the effectiveness of existing interventions tackling these factors. Projections for annual gain in life expectancy at birth during a two-decade was estimated using the Annual Percentage Change (APC) formula. The predicted estimates were based on mortality rates for year 2014-2015.

RESULTS: Based on the effectiveness of existing interventions targeting these modifiable risk factors, we estimated potential gain in life expectancy at birth of four (bipolar disorders), six (schizoaffective disorders), or seven years (schizophrenia). The gain in life expectancy at age 50 years was three (bipolar disorders) or five (schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders) years. The projected gain in life expectancy at age 65 years was three (bipolar disorders) or four (schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorders) years.

CONCLUSIONS: The implementation of existing interventions targeting modifiable risk factors could narrow the current mortality gap between the general and the SMI populations by 24% (men) to 28% (women). These projections represent ideal circumstances and without the limitation of overestimation which often comes with PAFs.

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