Article Title

Poor lung function and tonsillectomy in childhood are associated with mortality from age 18 to 44


Background: The aim of this analysis was to examine associations between lung health in childhood and mortality between ages 18 and 44 years in the Tasmanian Longitudinal Health Study (TAHS).

Methods: The 1961 Tasmanian birth cohort who attended school in 1968 (n=8583) were linked to the Australian National Death Index (NDI) to identify deaths. Additional deaths were notified by families through a 37 year follow-up postal questionnaire. Information on lung health at age 7 years and on potential confounders was obtained from the original 1968 TAHS survey and school medical records. Cox proportional hazards modelling was used to assess determinants of mortality.

Results: A total of 264 (3%) deaths were identified. The principal causes of death were external injury (56.1%, n=97) and cancer (17.9%, n=31). Males were more likely than females to have died (p=<0.1). Only two (1.1%) participants had died from respiratory conditions. Having an FEV1<80% predicted at 7 years of age was associated with a 2-fold increased incidence of death. Tonsillectomy before age 7 years was associated with a 1.5-fold increase in mortality (p=0.05); being male with a 3.6-fold increase in mortality (p=0.0001); and repeated chest illnesses at age 7 years causing >30 days confinement in the last year, was associated with a 2.2-fold increase in mortality (p=0.03).

Conclusions: Childhood lung health appears to be associated with increased mortality in adulthood, perhaps by affecting the ability to survive trauma, major illnesses and other physical stresses.



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