Heat wave–related mortality in Sweden: A case-crossover study investigating effect modification by neighbourhood deprivation

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Aims: The present study aimed to investigate if set thresholds in the Swedish heat-wave warning system are valid for all parts of Sweden and if the heat-wave warning system captures a potential increase in all-cause mortality and coronary heart disease (CHD) mortality. An additional aim was to investigate whether neighbourhood deprivation modifies the relationship between heat waves and mortality. Methods: From 1990 until 2014, in 14 municipalities in Sweden, we collected data on daily maximum temperatures and mortality for the five warmest months. Heat waves were defined according to the categories used in the current Swedish heat-wave warning system. Using a case-crossover approach, we investigated the association between heat waves and mortality in Sweden, as well as a modifying effect of neighbourhood deprivation. Results: On a national as well as a regional level, heat waves significantly increased both all-cause mortality and CHD mortality by approximately 10% and 15%, respectively. While neighbourhood deprivation did not seem to modify heat wave–related all-cause mortality, CHD mortality did seem to modify the risk. Conclusions: It may not be appropriate to assume that heat waves in Sweden will have the same impact in a northern setting as in a southern, or that the impact of heat waves will be the same in affluent and deprived neighbourhoods. When designing and implementing heat-wave warning systems, neighbourhood, regional and national information should be incorporated.


External organisations
  • Umeå University
  • London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology


  • Heat wave, heat-wave warning system, mortality, neighbourhood deprivation
Original languageEnglish
JournalScandinavian Journal of Public Health
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2018
Publication categoryResearch