The accuracy of date of death recording in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink GOLD database in England compared with the Office for National Statistics death registrations

Arlene M Gallagher*, Daniel Dedman, Shivani Padmanabhan, Hubert G M Leufkens, Frank de Vries

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


PURPOSE: It is not clear whether all deaths are recorded in the Clinical Practice Research Datalink (CPRD) or how accurate a recorded date of death is. Individual-level linkage with national data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) and Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) in England offers the opportunity to compare death information across different data sources.

METHODS: Age-standardised mortality rates (ASMRs) standardised to the European Standard Population (ESP) 2013 for CPRD were compared with figures published by the ONS, and crude mortality rates were calculated for a sample population with individual linkage between CPRD, ONS, and HES data. Agreement on the fact of death between CPRD and ONS was assessed and presented over time from 1998 to 2013.

RESULTS: There were 33 997 patients with a record of death in the ONS data; 33 389 (98.2%) of these were also identified in CPRD. Exact agreement on the death date between CPRD and the ONS was 69.7% across the whole study period, increasing from 53.4% in 1998 to 78.0% in 2013. By 2013, 98.8% of deaths were in agreement within ±30 days.

CONCLUSIONS: For censoring follow-up and calculating mortality rates, CPRD data are likely to be sufficient, as a delay in death recording of up to 1 month is unlikely to impact results significantly. Where the exact date of death or the cause is important, it may be advisable to include the individually linked death registration data from the ONS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)563-569
Number of pages7
JournalPharmacoepidemiology and Drug Safety
Issue number5
Early online date25 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - May 2019


  • CPRD
  • HES
  • ONS
  • UK
  • data linkage
  • death
  • mortality
  • pharmacoepidemiology
  • validation

Cite this