Annals of Applied Statistics

Bayesian factor models for probabilistic cause of death assessment with verbal autopsies

Tsuyoshi Kunihama, Zehang Richard Li, Samuel J. Clark, and Tyler H. McCormick

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Abstract

The distribution of deaths by cause provides crucial information for public health planning, response and evaluation. About 60% of deaths globally are not registered or given a cause, limiting our ability to understand disease epidemiology. Verbal autopsy (VA) surveys are increasingly used in such settings to collect information on the signs, symptoms and medical history of people who have recently died. This article develops a novel Bayesian method for estimation of population distributions of deaths by cause using verbal autopsy data. The proposed approach is based on a multivariate probit model where associations among items in questionnaires are flexibly induced by latent factors. Using the Population Health Metrics Research Consortium labeled data that include both VA and medically certified causes of death, we assess performance of the proposed method. Further, we estimate important questionnaire items that are highly associated with causes of death. This framework provides insights that will simplify future data

Article information

Source
Ann. Appl. Stat., Volume 14, Number 1 (2020), 241-256.

Dates
Received: March 2018
Revised: March 2019
First available in Project Euclid: 16 April 2020

Permanent link to this document
https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aoas/1587002673

Digital Object Identifier
doi:10.1214/19-AOAS1253

Mathematical Reviews number (MathSciNet)
MR4085092

Keywords
Bayesian latent model cause of death conditional dependence multivariate data verbal autopsies survey data

Citation

Kunihama, Tsuyoshi; Li, Zehang Richard; Clark, Samuel J.; McCormick, Tyler H. Bayesian factor models for probabilistic cause of death assessment with verbal autopsies. Ann. Appl. Stat. 14 (2020), no. 1, 241--256. doi:10.1214/19-AOAS1253. https://projecteuclid.org/euclid.aoas/1587002673


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Supplemental materials

  • Supplement to “Bayesian factor models for probabilistic cause of death assessment with verbal autopsies”. Supplementary information.
  • Supplement to “Bayesian factor models for probabilistic cause of death assessment with verbal autopsies”. Supplementary information.