Sensitivity analyses for misclassification of cause of death in the parametric G-formula

Jessie K. Edwards, Stephen R. Cole, Richard D. Moore, W. Christopher Mathews, Mari Kitahata, Joseph J. Eron

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Cause-specific mortality is an important outcome in studies of interventions to improve survival, yet causes of death can be misclassified. Here, we present an approach to performing sensitivity analyses formisclassification of cause of death in the parametric g-formula. The g-formula is a useful method to estimate effects of interventions in epidemiologic research because it appropriately accounts for time-varying confounding affected by prior treatment and can estimate risk under dynamic treatment plans.We illustrate our approach using an example comparing acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related mortality under immediate and delayed treatment strategies in a cohort of therapy-naive adults entering care for human immunodeficiency virus infection in the United States. In the standard g-formula approach, 10-year risk of AIDSrelatedmortality under delayed treatment was 1.73 (95% CI: 1.17, 2.54) times the risk under immediate treatment. In a sensitivity analysis assuming that AIDS-related death was measured with sensitivity of 95% and specificity of 90%, the 10-year risk ratio comparing AIDS-related mortality between treatment plans was 1.89 (95% CI: 1.13, 3.14). When sensitivity and specificity are unknown, this approach can be used to estimate the effects of dynamic treatment plans under a range of plausible values of sensitivity and specificity of the recorded event type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1808-1816
Number of pages9
JournalAmerican journal of epidemiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018


  • Cause of death
  • HIV
  • Outcome measurement errors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Epidemiology


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