A proposed case-control framework to probabilistically classify individual deaths as expected or excess during extreme hot weather events

Most excess deaths that occur during extreme hot weather events do not have natural heat recorded as an underlying or contributing cause. This study aims to identify the specific individuals who died because of hot weather using only secondary data. A novel approach was developed in which the expected number of deaths was repeatedly sampled from all deaths that occurred during a hot weather event, and compared with deaths during a control period. The deaths were compared with respect to five factors known to be associated with hot weather mortality. Individuals were ranked by their presence in significant models over 100 trials of 10,000 repetitions. Those with the highest rankings were identified as probable excess deaths. Sensitivity analyses were performed on a range of model combinations. These methods were applied to a 2009 hot weather event in greater Vancouver, Canada.

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