Suicide as an outcome for medical disorders

Medicine (Baltimore). 1994 Nov;73(6):281-96. doi: 10.1097/00005792-199411000-00001.


The association between suicide and medical disorder has not received as much attention as the association between suicide and psychiatric disorder. We identified by statistical overview medical disorders with an altered suicide risk. We found reports on the mortality of 63 medical disorders (ICD9 001-289, 320-999) said to have an altered suicide risk. English-language reports were located on MEDLINE with the search terms "disease name with mortality and follow-up"; and from the reference lists of these reports. We abstracted 235 reports of mortality studies of medical disorders with 2 years or more of follow-up, less than 10% loss of subjects, observed numbers of suicides given, and either the expected number or the facts from which to derive this. The ratio of the sum of the observed to the sum of the expected suicides, for each disorder, tested by the Poisson distribution gave an assessment of altered risk of death from suicide. Increased risk (p < 0.05) was seen for HIV/AIDS, malignant neoplasms as a group, head and neck cancers, Huntington disease, multiple sclerosis, peptic ulcer, renal disease, spinal cord injury, and systemic lupus erythematosus. Inconclusive evidence for increased risk was observed for amputation, heart valve replacement and surgery, disorders of the intestine (Crohn disease, ileostomy, ulcerative colitis), hormone replacement therapy, alcoholic liver disease, neurofibromatosis, systemic sclerosis, and Parkinson disease. Pregnancy and the puerperium had decreased risks (p < 0.05). There was no evidence of either increased or decreased risk for any of the other disorders studied.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Disease / classification*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Mortality
  • Risk
  • Suicide / statistics & numerical data*