BACKGROUND This paper presents a structured review of the published information on the mortality of schizophrenia.
METHOD A meta-analysis of the literature.
RESULTS Schizophrenia has a significantly increased mortality from natural and unnatural causes. Twenty-eight percent of the excess mortality is attributable to suicide and 12% to accidents. The rest of the excess mortality is from the same broad range of conditions which cause deaths in the general population. Further interpretation is hampered by confounding variables, wide confidence intervals and reservations about generalising from individual cohorts.
CONCLUSIONS The available evidence suggests that schizophrenia is associated with a large increased mortality from suicide and a moderate increased mortality from natural causes. A number of possible interventions have been identified, but we do not yet have reliable means of detecting any changes in mortality which might result.