J Korean Med Assoc.  2018 Apr;61(4):268-278. 10.5124/jkma.2018.61.4.268.

How to write a death certificate: from a statistical point of view

  • 1Department of Family Medicine, Myongji Hospital, Goyang, Korea.
  • 2Vital Statistics Division, Statistics Korea, Deajeon, Korea. leon32@korea.kr


Although the enclosed rate of death certificates has steadily improved when domestic death notification to the government, the percent of well-certified causes of death is still 29th among the 35 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries. The death certificate is a medical diagnosis how the deceased died, however, it is difficult to identify the causes of death such as cardiopulmonary arrest, unknown, and death due to old age were up to about 11%. The Statistics Korea selects the final cause of death by linking administrative records such as national health insurance records and national cancer registry data. The World Health Organization's the international statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision, volume 2 manual, provides standard forms of death certificate and guidelines for how to write death certificates. It is necessary to provide the education materials or programs to the clinical doctors such as how differentiate the concepts of the underlying cause of death which is the basis of the death cause statistics, originating antecedent cause, main condition and the direct diagnosis of the death. Statistics on the causes of death are continuously needed to improve for the people's perception of death and to upgrade the quality of health care research and policy development.


Cause of death; Statistics; Death certificates

MeSH Terms

Cause of Death
Death Certificates*
Global Health
Heart Arrest
International Classification of Diseases
National Health Programs
Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development
Policy Making
Quality of Health Care
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