Normal Life Expectancy
Determining life expectancy ordinarily starts with the normal expectancy of the individual. For example, a 56 year old male would, according to the Social Security Actuarial Publications Periodic Life Table, live an additional 24 years or a total of 80 years.
Once a baseline, or normal life expectancy is established, the physician expert will want to analyze the medical problems of the individual to determine:
- What serious conditions the individual had prior to the catastrophic injury.
- What impact, if any, these medical conditions would have had on his life expectancy.
Medical research will need to done to determine the impact of the pre-existing medical conditions on the life expectancy of the individual.
Impact on Life Expectancy
Once the medical conditions and their impact on life expectancy are established, the physician expert is then able to opine to a reasonable degree of medical certainty on the actual life expectancy of the individual was.
Let me offer an example of how this type of analysis is performed:
A 56 year old male with end-stage liver disease, chronic alcoholism, hypertension, adult onset diabetes mellitus, obesity, and coronary artery disease who died from complications of an overwhelming systemic infection.
In this case, I was asked to opine on the 56 year old’s life expectancy.
Loss of life expectancy
My research, medical training, and experience led me to the following analysis:
|End-stage liver disease||5 year mortality – 71-90%|
|Chronic alcoholism||Years of life lost – 22.6 years|
|Diabetes||Years of life lost – 5.3 years|
|Hypertension||Years of life lost – 5.1 years|
|Obesity (severe)||Years of life lost – 5.8 years|
It is medically probable that this individual would not have lived an additional 5 years, even absent the infection. Individuals with complex multisystem comorbid conditions should be carefully evaluated for their true life expectancy.’
- Scandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology, in September of 2004, Volume 39, page 858
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- Medical Clinics of Barcelona, June of 2008, Volume 131, page 10
- British Medical Journal, March of 1995, Volume 11, page 646
- Journal of Addition, March of 2006, Volume 101, page 373
- Diabetes and Metabolism, 1993, Volume 19, page 152
- Diabetes Care, Doctors Gu, et al, July of 1998, Volume 21, page 1138
- Journal of Hypertension, Doctors Franco, et al, August of 2005, Volume 46, page 280
- Journal of the American Medical Association, January of 2003, Volume 289, page 187
- Annals of Internal Medicine, Doctors Peeters, et al, January of 2003, Volume 138, page 24
Individuals with complex multisystem comorbid conditions should be carefully evaluated for their true life expectancy.
About the Author;
James F. Lineback MD, FCCP is board certified in internal medicine and pulmonary medicine. He is an Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of California, Riverside.