Assessing the external validity of model-based estimates of the incidence of heart attack in England: a modelling study
Scarborough P., Smolina K., Mizdrak A., Cobiac L., Briggs A.
BACKGROUND: The DisMod II model is designed to estimate epidemiological parameters on diseases where measured data are incomplete and has been used to provide estimates of disease incidence for the Global Burden of Disease study. We assessed the external validity of the DisMod II model by comparing modelled estimates of the incidence of first acute myocardial infarction (AMI) in England in 2010 with estimates derived from a linked dataset of hospital records and death certificates. METHODS: Inputs for DisMod II were prevalence rates of ever having had an AMI taken from a population health survey, total mortality rates and AMI mortality rates taken from death certificates. By definition, remission rates were zero. We estimated first AMI incidence in an external dataset from England in 2010 using a linked dataset including all hospital admissions and death certificates since 1998. 95 % confidence intervals were derived around estimates from the external dataset and DisMod II estimates based on sampling variance and reported uncertainty in prevalence estimates respectively. RESULTS: Estimates of the incidence rate for the whole population were higher in the DisMod II results than the external dataset (+54 % for men and +26 % for women). Age-specific results showed that the DisMod II results over-estimated incidence for all but the oldest age groups. Confidence intervals for the DisMod II and external dataset estimates did not overlap for most age groups. CONCLUSION: By comparison with AMI incidence rates in England, DisMod II did not achieve external validity for age-specific incidence rates, but did provide global estimates of incidence that are of similar magnitude to measured estimates. The model should be used with caution when estimating age-specific incidence rates.