Background: Mortality rates in patients with bullous pemphigoid (BP) are higher than those in age-matched counterparts. However, the specific causes of death in BP subjects have not been evaluated systematically. Objectives: We sought to characterize the causes of death in patients with BP as recorded by death certificate and to compare these with death data for age- and location-matched control subjects. Methods: This was a retrospective cohort analysis conducted in a large tertiary referral center. Twenty-seven participants who had a confirmed antemortem diagnosis of BP, were residents of Olmsted County, Minnesota, and had died between January 1, 1999, and January 1, 2009, were included in the study. Underlying cause of death and multiple causes of death data for the study population were compared with data sourced from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) for a control group matched by age and geographic location of origin by International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) block, and specific ICD-10 codes. Results: Comparisons of specific ICD-10 codes revealed increased rates of sepsis (P = 0.031), dementia (P = 0.049), and major depressive disorder (P = 0.005) in the study group. The collective incidence of ICD-10 codes for infections indicated that infections were more frequent contributors to death in the study group (P = 0.035). Conclusions: Clinicians should be mindful of contributors to death in patients with BP and might consider screening for mental health issues, educating patients on the early symptoms of sepsis, and minimizing risk factors for infection.
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